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Habitat Harmony responds to recent poisoning of Prairie Dogs
Habitat Harmony, Inc. has previously worked with the city in other locations to develop long-term solutions that allow for Gunnison's prairie dog conservation when trying to solve conflicts with humans on public property. As we have stated previously in meetings with city staff, we do not support poisoning as a solution for dealing with problem prairie dogs, first because it is not a long-term solution to the problem, and second because of lethal effects that poisons have on non-target wildlife (birds and mammals), and possibly on family pets as well.
Mowed ball fields and parks mimic the short-grass prairie habitats that prairie dogs like to live in, and mowing the grass in these areas provides a constant source of tender forage for the prairie dogs to eat, so prairie dogs will continue to try to colonize these habitats. Gunnison's prairie dogs are an important keystone species in our area because they provide food for a variety of predators, their burrows provide shelter for many other animals, and their burrowing and grazing activities have important effects on prairie landscapes.
However, Gunnison's prairie dogs have experienced an estimated 95% decline in populations over their range on the southern Colorado Plateau, so we encourage the city and private landowners to find non-lethal solutions that allow prairie dogs to co-exist with humans.
About Habitat Harmony, Inc. (from our website www.habitatharmony.org): Habitat Harmony, Inc. is a tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation founded upon the recognition of the inherent value of the natural world. Our mission is to assist humans to live in harmony with wildlife. This goal is reflected in the following activity areas: education; public policy advocacy; habitat improvement and preservation; and relocation and alternative care for misplaced wildlife. Our focus has been the prairie ecosystem of northern Arizona, with much of our resources devoted to protecting prairie dogs. It is the policy of Habitat Harmony to seek consensus, and to build cooperative relationships. It is our goal to pursue our mission in a manner that promotes a sense of community. We believe that greater good may be accomplished by a respectful approach to issues.