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Turner seeks to release rare foxes in S. Dakota

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Billionaire media mogul Ted Turner wants South Dakota's permission to release rare swift foxes on his 138,000-acre ranch.

The Turner Endangered Species Fund of Bozeman, Mont., has asked the state's Animal Industry Board to allow for the release of the threatened animal — the smallest of North America's wild dogs — on Turner's ranch in central South Dakota.

"It makes sense to try to advance recovery of this important and imperiled component of South Dakota's natural history," said Mike Phillips, director of the Turner fund, a private, nonprofit charity founded in 1997 to help threatened and endangered species.

The Turner group wants to release 180 swift foxes over the next several years. The animals, about the size of house cats, would be trapped in Wyoming and moved to South Dakota.

If the Animal Industry Board approves the request, the first foxes could be released by spring.