Target: Phil Cruz, Forest Supervisor in Thunder Basin for the United States Forest Service
Goal: Prevent the cruel deaths of 16,000 prairie dogs at the Thunder Basin National Grassland in Wyoming.
The United States Forest Service plans to poison an estimated 16,000 prairie dogs living on 22,000 acres of protected land in the Thunder Basin National Grassland. There are non-lethal alternatives to managing this keystone species. Tell Phil Cruz, Forest Supervisor, to stop poisoning prairie dogs.
85,000 acres of the Thunder Basin National Grassland were set aside as a protected prairie dog habitat in 2009. Prairie dogs are a keystone grassland species and vital food source for hawks, eagles, badgers, and foxes. But now the U.S. Forest Service is planning to use a slow, painful, poison to kill an estimated 16,000 prairie dogs that live on the border regions of the protected zone, effectively shrinking the protected area by a third.
The poison used on the prairie dogs will also kill the predators that feed on them. In addition it will delay the reintroduction of the endangered black-footed ferret into the national grassland. It’s a cruel, sloppy, and unnecessary way to manage the prairie dog population. Instead, the U.S. Forest Service should plant vegetative barriers and relocate prairie dog colonies to more remote parts of the grassland.
Urge Phil Cruz of the U.S. Forest Service to stop poisoning the prairie dogs in the protected Thunder Basin National Grassland.
Dear Mr. Cruz,
The prairie dogs in the Thunder Basin National Grassland in Wyoming are a key part of the grassland ecosystem. Your current plan to poison an estimated 16,000 prairie dogs on 22,000 acres of protected land could have a devastating effect on the grasslands. The poison being used is slow working and could cause the deaths of the many predators, like hawks and eagles, that depend on prairie dogs as a key food source.
Additionally, the plan to poison the prairie dogs will delay the introduction of the endangered black-footed ferret to Thunder Basin. This species has been on the brink of extinction, with only about 1000 ferrets in the wild today, and it will only be saved through careful breeding and reintroduction programs. Thunder Basin is one of the best possible locations for the black-footed ferret, in part due to its thriving prairie dog population. The risk for the ferrets is too high as long as poisons are being used on the prairie dogs.
Mr. Cruz, I urge you to use non-lethal methods like vegetative barriers and colony relocation to manage the prairie dog population at Thunder Basin.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Kristi Decourcy via flickr