Southwestern Prairie Dog Will Not Be Considered Endangered

Published: Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 5:53pm

A prairie dog found in four Southwestern states will not be listed as endangered or threatened.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided against listing the Gunnison prairie dog, saying threats to the animal will not cause it to become extinct soon or in the foreseeable future. The prairie dogs live in grasslands and intermountain valleys of northern Arizona, southwestern and southcentral Colorado, northwestern New Mexico and southeastern Utah.

Federal officials said while outbreaks of plague have decimated some colonies, the populations have rebounded and are stable. Recreational shooting also reduces populations, but officials said those impacts are not spread across the prairie dogs' entire range.

The environmental group, WildEarth Guardians, said the federal government has dodged its responsibility to protect a species that exists in 5 percent of its historic range.

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