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Urban-suburban prairie dog management: opportunities and challenges

  • Author(s): Witmer, Gary W.
  • VerCauteren, Kurt C.
  • Manci, Karen M.
  • Dees, Donna M.
  • et al.
Abstract

The historic range of the black-tailed prairie dog has undergone dramatic declines in the last century, prompting concern about the species’ long-term viability. While considered a pest by many, others believe that the species is a "keystone" element of prairie ecosystems. Urban-suburban land managers are challenged with preserving colonies of prairie dogs on public lands while dealing with many conflicting interests, social costs, and risks. We review the management plans that municipalities have designed to reduce conflicts by using public input, zoned management, and a variety of management techniques. Areas of difficulty and research needs are also discussed.

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