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Prairie Dogs

Prairie dogs are keystone species that are important to many other species including mountain plovers and endangered black-footed ferrets.

Prairie dogs were killed due to the perceived competition with livestock and currently occupy less than two percent of their historic range in North America. Disease is now a major threat to these small populations.


Lands owned by American Prairie Reserve are home to six prairie dog colonies that support diverse wildlife, including more than ten breeding pairs of burrowing owls. We are monitoring these colonies and working to significantly expand them by closing prairie dog shooting on our private lands. In addition, we are working closely with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), and BLM biologists to ensure healthy prairie dog populations that can add to the habitat that already exists to support black-footed ferrets.

In 2015, Defenders of Wildlife and the Prairie Dog Coalition of the Humane Society started working to grow prairie dog towns on the Reserve and reduce the chance of disease. Volunteers with the Landmark adventure science program are also mapping prairie dog town expansion and monitoring biodiversity related to the towns. 

Prairie dog photo by Gib Myers

Defenders of Wildlife and the Prairie Dog Coalition of the Humane Society are helping the Reserve conserve and grow prairie dog towns. Read a report covering their recent work.