Prairie dogs are one of the most important species on the prairie. Their grazing encourages the growth of forage and aerates the soil, and their burrows provide habitat for dozens of other prairie species. But they are also viewed as competition for cows on range land, and as such are classified as agricultural pests in Colorado. This status means that they are killed liberally and virtually without regulation, including by target shooters and government entities. But these animals are too important to treat otherwise, and CPI is working to ensure both the protection of prairie dogs and of the ecosystem that depends on them.
CPI’S PRAIRIE DOG WORK
The USDA kills and poisons thousands of prairie dogs every year through an agency called Wildlife Services. The purposes of these operations vary, but the end result is always the same: dead prairie dogs. Unfortunately, Wildlife Services has not done any environmental review to evaluate the impacts of its actions, and removing a keystone animal from an ecosystem is not an event to be taken lightly. CPI is petitioning Wildlife Services to undertake the required environmental analysis before continuing with the program. When such review is performed, public comment and input will be vital. Read CPI’s petition here.