On Sept. 26, 1981, the black-footed ferret was rediscovered in Wyoming. Until then, the species had been considered extinct.

Thirty years later, the adorable little buggers are fighting to make a comeback, thanks in part to Phoenix Zoo. It's one of only six facilities in the world breeding the ferrets for recovery efforts.

Learn more at Sunday's Black-Footed Ferret Celebration, where an extreme cuteness encounter is highly likely. A black-footed ferret will appear at 9:30 a.m. at the Arthur L. & Elaine V. Johnson Foundation Conservation Center, and another will greet guests at the zoo's Savanna Park. There's also a ferret mask-making craft and tunnel activity.

The celebration marks not only the re-discovery of the species, but the 20th anniversary of Phoenix Zoo's black-footed ferret breeding program and 15 years since the ferrets were re-introduced into the Aubrey Valley, between Flagstaff and Kingman.

Not quite as cute, but also cool: Eight baby Komodo dragons are on display for the first time this weekend. The four males and four females, on loan from the Los Angeles Zoo, weigh about five ounces apiece. See them at the Bush House.

DETAILS >> Ferret celebration is 9 a.m. to noon Sunday; zoo is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Parkway. Included with regular zoo admission of $18 adults, $9 children ages 3-12. (602) 273-1341 or www.phoenixzoo.org.

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