Photo Credit: Joseph Thomas
Prairie dog information – learn about protecting this keystone species
Protect the Prairie Dog Empire
Prairie dogs are central to healthy grasslands in North America, sustaining entire wildlife communities on western prairies. Intriguing animals, they maintain close-knit social groups and communicate with their own complex language.
Unfortunately, these fascinating and ecologically vital creatures suffer from endless persecution. Victims of intense government extermination efforts in the past century, prairie dogs continue to be gunned down, poisoned, bulldozed, and plowed under. Plague, introduced to the Americas in the late 1800s, is also taking a devastating toll: a plague outbreak can wipe out 85 to 99 percent of prairie dogs in a colony. The result of these threats: all five species of prairie dogs are biologically imperiled, with most occupying less than five percent of their historic ranges. And as prairie dogs decline, so does the myriad wildlife that benefit from prairie dog colonies.
Guardians is working to educate communities about the importance of prairie dogs to healthy grassland ecosystems and help them coexist with their prairie dog neighbors. We also work to ensure that Endangered Species Act protection for other wildlife in the Prairie Dog Empire, such as black-footed ferrets, is effective on the ground. We seek to raise awareness of the importance of these species by honoring prairie dogs in a multitude of ways, including redefining Groundhog Day as “Prairie Dog Day” in the West. We are also working to create safe refuges for prairie dogs on private and public lands. Our advocacy for prairie dogs will continue until they are recognized and protected as intelligent, social creatures with a key role in the prairie ecosystem.
Prairie Dogs, America’s Meerkats
Want to learn more about prairie dogs? Watch this sequence of videos on prairie dog ecology, social lives, language, and conservation.
Prairie Dog Resources
Read up on prairie dog language in “Prairie Dogs: Communication and Community in an Animal Society” by Dr. Con Slobodchikoff, professor of biology at Northern Arizona University and internationally renowned authority on prairie dogs.
Prairie Dog Consultations
Do you live in the Boulder, Colo., area and want more information on coexisting with prairie dogs on your property? For a free site consultation, contact the Prairie Dog Coalition of the Humane Society of the United States at (720) 938-0788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prairie Dog Day
February 2nd is officially recognized as Groundhog Day, but here in the West we celebrate Prairie Dog Day. Prairie Dog Day events invite the public to more fully understand prairie dogs and their communities, and learn how the status of prairie dogs affects the health of our western grasslands.
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