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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Population dynamics and expansion rates of black-tailed prairie dogs


The purpose of this review is to describe population dynamics and annual rates of increase of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) and to determine annual expansion rates of uncontrolled populations. Their reproductive characteristics, including social behavior are examined as they relate to these factors. In this analysis, the first step is to determine the average number of male and female prairie dogs of breeding age that are present at each burrow system before and after the reproductive cycle. From this determination the total number of prairie dogs is determined, based on the average density of active burrows for a specific geographic area. Then specific natality and mortality rates are determined to establish the total population. These data are essential to management decisions regarding expansion of prairie dog colonies and related control programs.

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