prairie dogs

Lauren Connell

  

A University of Wyoming study is looking for non-lethal approaches to relocating prairie dogs colonies off ranchlands where they can cause problems for livestock grazing and onto public lands. The prairie dog study is the brainchild of UW Rangeland Ecology student Lauren Connell.  

 A wildlife advocacy group has released its annual report card on the welfare of prairie dogs in the West, and the State of Wyoming received a "D." WildEarth Guardians spokesperson Taylor Jones says for the first time, Wyoming participated in a survey of the state’s prairie dog population. And it designated a research site to investigate the plague, which has contributed to the species’ decline. But she says the state still has a long way to go.

Conservation groups are criticizing a proposal to reduce the amount of land protected for prairie dogs in the Thunder Basin National Grassland.

The U.S. Forest Service is considering shrinking the acreage of protected land, largely because ranchers have concerns about livestock being injured in prairie dog holes and acquiring diseases.

Devils Tower National Monument is creating a prairie dog management plan to keep the animals out of developed areas.

One option they’re considering is to build fences and plant vegetation that would encourage prairie dogs to move to another area. Their preferred alternative would include those so-called “passive” measures, but would also allow for lethal control in certain circumstances.

Rene Ohms with Devils Tower says that option would involve the least damage to the environment.