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Gun range owners humanely remove prairie dogs from Flagstaff property

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By KPNX Staff

Originally Published Aug. 22, 2016 by | Link to original

It's the first indoor gun range in Coconino County, but owners Elise and Rob Wilson realized the land they had bought for the range already had plenty of tenants: Prairie dogs.

The colony had set up shop when a retention pond was constructed across the street a few years earlier.

So Elise called Habitat Harmony, which agreed to work with the Arizona Department Game and Fish to capture and relocate as many of the animals as possible before beginning construction.

They used a method known as "sudsing," in which gallons of water mixed with dish soap are poured into the underground holes in an effort to flush out the dogs.

Efforts thus far have been somewhat successful; however, progress is slow, but steady.

The group has already caught seven animals as of Thursday, though there are over 200 holes that need attention.

The animals will be relocated to the Petrified Forest, where they will potentially be used to help repopulate the black foot ferrets, who eat prairie dogs.

Because Habitat Harmony relies on volunteers and donations to operate, Elise began a GoFundMe account to help pay for some of the expenses.

Prairie Dog Life

Click on the burrow images to find out more.

Nursing Chamber

A mother keeps her young pups safe while the other Prairie Dogs investigate the snake.

Entering the Burrow

A prairie dog hears an emergency cry of "snake" and goes to investigate.

Listening chamber

A prairie dog sits listening just beneath the surface of the ground.

The Rattlesnake

The rattlesnake found a prairie dog burrow to sleep in but has been discovered by the prairie dogs.

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