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Report from the Burrow 2014 Image CoverWildEarth Guardians’ annual Report from the Burrow: Forecast of the Prairie Dog evaluates and grades the performance of the many state and federal agencies responsible for prairie dog conservation. Since 2008, we have tracked successes and failures in prairie dog conservation across their range in the United States as a way to measure support for prairie dog conservation and to make predictions for the immediate- and long-term future of these keystone species. Most state and federal agencies are legally bound to protect our wildlife and wildlife habitat. Our reports are a tool for the public to monitor and hold these agencies accountable.

WildEarth Guardians releases an updated version of the report each year on “Prairie Dog Day”—also Groundhog Day—on February 2. We linked these two holidays because both burrowing rodents provide us predictions of the future. Famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil entertains us, foretelling the length of winter. But the status of our prairie dog populations has more serious implications for the future of western grassland ecosystems. As a “keystone species,” prairie dogs have unique, significant effects on their ecosystem that are disproportionately large relative to their abundance. These energetic creatures fertilize and aerate the soil, reduce noxious weeds, and clips grass tops, creating a shorter but more nutrient-rich blade of grass. Large herbivores including elk and bison often prefer to graze on prairie dog towns. Prairie dog burrows provide habitat for numerous reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. Prairie dogs are also an important food source for a wide variety of species including hawks, eagles, coyotes, foxes, and badgers.

There are four species of prairie dog in the United States: the black-tailed, white-tailed, Gunnison’s, and Utah prairie dog. The fifth species, appropriately named the Mexican prairie dog, is found only in Mexico. Collectively, prairie dogs have lost between 93-99 percent of their historic range in the last 150 years, and with their decline we lose the unique biome that prairie dogs create and sustain.

Report from the Burrow 2014

Report from the Burrow 2014 Image Cover
  • Read the February 2014 full report here.

 

Report from the Burrow 2013

2013 Report from the Burrow cover
  • Read the February 2013 full report here.*


 

Report from the Burrow 2012

Report from the Burrow 2012
  • Read the February 2012 full report here.
  • Read the 2 page Report Card here.

 

Report from the Burrow 2011

Report from the Burrow 2011
  • Read the February 2011 full report here.
  • Read the 2 page Report Card here.

 

Report from the Burrow 2010

  • Read the February 2010 report here.

 

Report from the Burrow 2009

  • Read the February 2009 report here.

 

Report from the Burrow 2008

  • Read the February 2008 full report here.
  • Read the 2 page Report Card here.

* In the original version of this report, we reported the number of animals moved or dispersed by Wildlife Services (29,395,000), rather than the number killed (3,752,356). The report has been updated to correct the error.