Four species of prairie dogs are native to the plains and plateaus of the western United States. The most abundant and widely distributed of these is the blacktailed prairie dog, (Cynomys ludovicianus). This species has been a frequent topic of discussion at previous Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control workshops. Black-tailed prairie dog ecology and management was the topic of a panel discussion held at the Fifth Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Workshop, in Lincoln, Nebraska (Timm and Johnson 1982) and the theme topic at the Eighth Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Workshop in Rapid City, South Dakota (Uresk et al. 1988). The remaining three prairie dog species, all in the white-tail group, occur in Utah. These are the white-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys leucurus) in eastern and northeastern Utah, the Zuni Or Gunnison's prairie dog (C. gunnisonii) in southeastern Utah, and the Utah prairie dog (C. parvidens in southcentral Utah. Of these, the Utah prairie dog is federally recognized as a threatened species. Although the ecology of the white-tail prairie dog group has been studied, much of the information reported deals with behavioral aspects. Very few studies deal directly with population ecology (Longhurst 1944, Tileston and Lechleitner 1966, Clark 1977, Elmore et al. 1976, Menkens et al. 1988). Although aspects of white-tail group and black-tailed ecology may be similar, their life histories differ (Longhurst 1944, Tileston and Lechleitner 1966, Campbell and Clark 1981, Hoogland et al. 1988, Menkens et al. 1988). Knowledge of these differences are important in designing and implementing programs to manage the damage caused by species of the white-tail prairie dog group. The purpose of this paper therefore is twofold. First, I will review and compare the ecology of the white-tail prairie dog groups as they occur in Utah and the West to that of the black-tailed prairie dog. Secondly, I will discuss management of the damage caused by the white-tail prairie dog group in Utah through the implementation of coordinated county-wide abatement programs. This latter discussion will describe program efforts conducted in southeastern Utah's San Juan County to manage damage associated with the Gunnison's prairie dog.
Messmer, Terry A.; Keyes, Jim; and McDonald, Roy, "A Prairie Dog Abatement Program in San Juan County, Utah" (1993). All U.S. Government Documents (Utah Regional Depository). Paper 401.