As grievances with prairie dogs continue to grow throughout the West and colonies are being demolished, someone needs to be a strong voice for these tiny creatures. The Prairie Dog Coalition is dedicated to the protection of imperiled prairie dogs and restoration of their ecosystems.
A fortunate few have seen prairie dogs as they nibble on grass, run between burrows, touch noses and kiss. And it’s heartbreaking to know one day their presence may be gone. Survival of the prairie dog is critical to the continued existence of the prairie ecosystem–one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world.
Nine different wildlife species depend on prairie dog populations and their habitat for their survival. Endangered black-footed ferrets, owls, hawks, foxes and about 200 other species are associated with prairie dogs and their habitat. By planning ahead and working prairie dogs into open space plans, we can help direct their path of migration to the best habitats for them. By setting aside conservation areas for this native, keystone animal we can enjoy the prairie dogs and their associated species in our natural environment.
Prairie dogs now occupy just 2 percent to 8 percent of their historic range, and without serious conservation efforts, they may soon disappear. We have a responsibility to do everything we can to help the prairie dog ecosystem recover so that future generations can enjoy healthy wildlife populations, too.
Training volunteers and professional wildlife biologists on the latest nonlethal techniques to manage prairie dog populations humanely is a good first step to help protect these animals and restore their ecosystems. To ensure the protection of prairie dogs and their ecosystem, we must work together. The Prairie Dog Coalition, managed by The Humane Society of the United States, is working to fulfill this mission by providing information and advocacy training, facilitating communication and planning, and promoting conservation projects.
Ultimately, a conscious concern for these animals is necessary for retaining the beauty and majestic nature that is the prairie dog and the North American grasslands. Help us put an end to their demise and invigorate the prairie ecosystem once again.
Lindsey Sterling-Krank, director of The Prairie Dog Coalition/Boulder