Save the White-Tailed Prairie Dog

Target:  Tyler Abbott, Field Supervisor, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wyoming Ecological Services Field Office

Goal:  Stop the needless destruction of the white-tailed prairie dog.

Despite continuing population decline due to human development and disease, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has again declared there is no threat to the white-tailed prairie dog.  Although environmentalists have been striving to protect these animals from displacement and annihilation for over a decade, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service insists that the species is resilient despite the fact that they only inhabit a small fraction of the territory they once called home.

White-tailed prairie dogs are burrowing rodents that occupy parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana in altitudes of 5,000 – 10,000 feet.  They are hibernators that rely on vegetation stores to carry them through the winter season.  Even though they populate less densely than other types of prairie dogs, they are also at the mercy of developers, energy companies, and ranchers who oppose land restrictions.

Prairie dog communities are essential to the ecosystem because their distinctive design provides sustenance and protection to a plethora of other species.  Surely there is enough available land in white-tailed prairie dog country to be shared by man and animal.  The time to put the environment over the economy has long passed.


Dear Mr. Abbott,

The decimation of the white-tailed prairie dog population must stop to ensure the survival of this keystone species that greatly contributes to the ecosystem, providing habitats and shelter to a vast number of other reliant species.  Because other animals depend on white-tailed prairie dog communities, the removal of their species will have a dramatically negative effect on the ecosystem as a whole.

There are many reasons why the white-tailed prairie dog is in danger.  Urbanization, oil and gas development, livestock grazing, poisoning, the altering of agricultural lands, and many other factors have played key roles in reducing their numbers.  It is very clear that land restrictions should be put in place to protect this valuable and harmless rodent species.

I ask that the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service declare the white-tailed prairie dog to be an endangered or threatened species based on recent data regarding the dramatic decline in population, alarmingly only a fraction of what it once was.  The welfare of this keystone species and all other species that depend on them are at stake.  Procrastination will result in  irreversible detriment; it is time to put environmental health before economic wealth.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit:  John J. Mosesso , NBII

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  1. Save them now, before it’s too late!

  2. Remember the old adage, “the extinction of one is the extinction of the other.” The other could be us one day if we don’t do something now to help save so many species that are in peril right now.

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