By P.O.V. Contributing Writer,
The troubles even the tiniest creatures can bring is currently a Southern Utah controversy. The Utah prairie dog has burrowed its way into being known as the pest of the western desert.
The 1920’s was when the Utah prairie dogs’ population was at its peak of up to 54,000, but due to improper disposal and plague of the animal, its been dramatically decreasing over the years; it earned its way onto the U.S. Fish and Wildlife List of Threatened and Endangered Species in 1973. The animal has since been downgraded to a threatened species in 1984.
The residents of Southern Utah are facing troubles with the small animals and complaining that over the years its only gotten worse. They are asking congress for help with no avail. Efforts to keep the prairie dog contained and out of certain areas is the only thing being done.
Without researching the history of them, little do they know that we are the reason their population has started to boom and be overwhelming. We’ve been chasing away their natural predators over 100 years by our farming and building on their natural habitat.
The states struggle with this threatened species, and their natural way of living is certainly no reason to kill off the prairie dog population. Even resorting to poisoning will not chase them away with the risk of re-population by migration of the animal from other local colonies. How have we not found a way to coexist with them over all these years?
I feel efforts and funds are wasted when we are trying to fight against these prairie dogs. A glance at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife List of Threatened and Endangered Species will show such animals we’ve gone to extreme measures to protect, why not give the prairie dog the same opportunity?
Prairie Dogs: A Wildlife Handbook by Kim Young
Endangered Species: Mountain-Prairie Region: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service