Federal Agency Says Prairie Dogs Not Endangered

Black-tailed prairie dogs were denied protection under the Endangered Species Act on Wednesday after federal officials concluded the once prevalent species shows signs of rebounding.In 2007, the New Mexico-based environmental activist group WildEarth Guardians petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the animal as threatened or endangered.

“They reached a low point in approximately 1961 and have bounced back pretty good since then,” said Joy Gober, the Fish and Wildlife biologist who drafted the decision.

A representative of WildEarth Guardians said a federal court challenge to the ruling was likely.

The denial of endangered or threatened status means the species will continue to fall under the watch of state wildlife and agriculture agencies, some of which classify prairie dogs as “pests” because they are thought to compete with livestock for forage.

U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said the denial of new protections was appropriate for animals that “threaten livestock grazing lands and potentially harbor contagious diseases.”

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Dorothy Nepa on January 9, 2010 at 1:27 am

    I am glad to see reasonableness come back


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