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Old 08-06-2010, 06:11 AM   #1
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Default Prairie Dogs Have Their Day

Prairie Dogs Have Their Day
Relocation project literally breaks ground to save them
July 27, 2010
by Ruthanne Johnson

Prairie Dogs Have Their Day : The Humane Society of the United States
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Quote:
Historically considered pests, the targets of poisoning and sport shooting, these native animals are gaining the respect of scientists and wildlife agents in federal grasslands, where colonies of prairie dogs support a myriad of species in decline: burrowing owls, ferruginous hawks, mountain plovers, swift foxes, and North America's most endangered mammal, the black-footed ferret.
Quote:
Once prevalent across the Great Plains, prairie dog populations plummeted by 95 percent after decades of persecution, habitat loss, death from sylvatic plague—even capture for the pet trade. Today, they occupy 2 to 8 percent of their historic ranges, which once spread over vast areas in 12 states and parts of Mexico and Canada. Many scientists believe that without conservation efforts, they could soon disappear.
Quote:
After moving the prairie dogs, the Forest Service will build a fence to prevent cattle from grazing in a buffer zone. Prairie dogs avoid tall grass because they can't see predators, so they should stay out of the ungrazed area. The relocated colonies should also increase habitat in Thunder Basin's black-footed ferret recovery zone, where Forest Service agents say they hope to reintroduce ferrets as soon as 2011...
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