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Prairie Dogs in Public Park Threatened by Deadly Poison
The Humane Society of the United States: Kaitlin Sanderson, 301-721-6463; firstname.lastname@example.org
Animal Protection of New Mexico: Phil Carter, 505-967-5297; email@example.com
CLOVIS, N.M. (March 4, 2013) – Wildlife protection organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, Prairie Dog Advocacy Watch Group, Citizens for Prairie Dogs, People for Native Ecosystems, Animal Protection of New Mexico and WildEarth Guardians, denounce the City Commission of Clovis’ decision to kill prairie dogs instead of using no-cost, non-lethal management options.
With Friday’s vote, the City Commission has set in motion the mass extermination of hundreds of native prairie dogs with Rozol – a deadly poison with documented secondary poisoning effects – instead of waiting until June when relocation to a protected site could occur.
Joann Haddock, president of Citizens for Prairie Dogs, and Susan Hubby, a Clovis resident, have offered to relocate the prairie dogs to a confirmed, private release site in New Mexico at no cost. This commonsense solution saves taxpayer dollars and conserves New Mexico’s wildlife for future generations.
Taylor Jones, Endangered Species Advocate for WildEarth Guardians, said, "This short-sighted plan to poison prairie dogs will impoverish the park, its wildlife and local residents."
Ned Houk Memorial Park is a protected 3,320-acre habitat of grasslands, ponds and trees in Clovis, and is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including bison, prairie dogs and burrowing owls. Burrowing owls are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and are dependent on prairie dogs for their nesting sites. Nonetheless, the City of Clovis has chosen to poison the prairie dogs and purchased a large quantity of Rozol – a toxin that causes extreme suffering, often taking up to three days for prairie dogs to die from internal bleeding. Other animals are also vulnerable to ingesting Rozol and can die or suffer for weeks.
Denise Saccone, president of Prairie Dog Advocacy Watch Group, said, “Killing prairie dogs does not solve the perceived conflict the City wants to address – long-term, non-lethal management solutions would.”
This coalition of wildlife protection organizations is urging the City of Clovis to reconsider its decision and implement a long-term management plan that can address concerns of park users, adjacent land owners and the City Commissioners.
Lindsey Sterling-Krank, director of The HSUS’ Prairie Dog Coalition, said, “A win-win for taxpayers and for animals is right at hand – it makes no sense for the City of Clovis to do otherwise.”
Nine different wildlife species depend on prairie dog populations and their habitat for their survival, including hawks, owls, foxes and ferrets.