2007, DSL observed an encounter between a black-tailed prairie dog
and a male black-footed ferret kit in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota.
Black-tailed prairie dogs
are legally classified as varmints.
As late as the 1800s, black-tailed prairie dogs
(one- of five prairie dog species) had an estimated population of 5 billion individuals, including a single colony in Texas that spanned 64,750 square kilometers and was home to perhaps 400 million prairie dogs, according to the U.S.
The ongoing conflict about black-tailed prairie dog
(Cynomys ludovicianus) policy is one of the most contentious wildlife conservation issues in the United States.
Biologists hope that by systematically addressing the needs of such vulnerable or listed species as the mountain plover (Charadrius montanus), long-billed curlew (Numenius americanus), grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), burrowing owl, swift fox (Vulpes velox), black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes), and black-tailed prairie dog
, the High Plains the ecosystem will eventually be restored.
That obstacle is sylvatic plague, an exotic disease fatal to black-tailed prairie dogs
. A plague outbreak was detected about 15 miles (24 kilometers) east of Snake Butte on the Peoples Creek prairie dog complex in September 1999.
The poisoning bans are the latest step toward formal federal protection for the black-tailed prairie dog
, which began with an NWF petition for listing the animal as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
In the Great Plains, burrowing owls (Speotyto cunicularia) nest most commonly in black-tailed prairie dog
(Cynomys ludovicianus) towns (Butts, 1973; Ross, 1974).
The action is a major victory for NWF, which has petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to list the black-tailed prairie dog
as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
The Predator Project and NWF have each campaigned for federal listing of the black-tailed prairie dog
, which now exists on just a fraction of one percent of the Great Plains.
In 1998, the Fish and Wildlife Service received a petition to list the black-tailed prairie dog
, which inhabits the western prairies from Saskatchewan to Chihuahua.
Prairie Dog Step Closer To Winning Protected Status NWF has cleared the first major hurdle in its effort to reverse the decline of the black-tailed prairie dog
and its grasslands habitat.
Biodiversity associated with active and extirpated black-tailed prairie dog
But the sad truth is that the most widespread of the country's four prairie dog species, the black-tailed prairie dog
, is in deep trouble.
In Texas, the range of the black-tailed prairie dog
was estimated to have declined from ca.