Stop the Death Sentence for Prairie Dog and Ferrets

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Status: Current
Originally Posted: 10 December 2008

Stop the Death Sentence for Prairie Dog and Ferrets

From Defenders of Wildlife

Wildlife-friendly ranchers like Larry and Bette Haverfield have worked hard to preserve the American grasslands that they own and lease. Thatís why they volunteered their land for the reintroduction of the once-thought-to-be-extinct black-footed ferret.

But last week, commissioners in Logan County, Kansas put the ranchers on notice: forced prairie dog poisonings could happen as early as this Monday, December 15th -- a move that would destroy the stateís largest prairie dog town and effectively end black-footed ferret recovery in the state.

Image from Jim Robertson, Animals in the Wild

Write Kansas Governor Sebelius today and urge her to stop the needless poisonings on the prairie.

The Logan County Commission's plan couldn't come at a worse time. It would derail recovery of the once-thought-to-be-extinct black-footed ferret in Kansas. This private land is home to a small population of these highly endangered animals, introduced to the area just last December -- and the first population of black-footed ferrets seen in Kansas in 50 years.

Image from Jim Robertson, Animals in the Wild

In addition, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is considering protecting the black-tailed prairie dog under the Endangered Species Act, in part because state wildlife agencies are not doing their job to manage the species.

Kansas signed on to a multi-state agreement to maintain prairie dogs, including at least one 5,000 acre prairie dog complex in each state. The Haverfield ranch is the only property in Kansas with at least 5,000 acres of prairie dog colonies.

The health of the American grassland depends on prairie dogs to support rich and diverse wildlife -- especially in Kansas. Burrowing owls, hawks and swift fox are just a few of the creatures that depend on these animals to survive.

Ranchers like Larry and Bette Haverfield understand the importance of the prairie dog to the health of the grasslands. That's why they are using ranching techniques that mimic grazing patterns of bison that were once part of this uniquely American landscape. They have also volunteered their land to reintroduce the highly endangered black-footed ferret, and that effort is now a tremendous success.

But the Logan County Commission's plan would put the hard work and livelihood of these Kansans at risk -- and jeopardize the health of the American prairie.

That's why I'm writing today to urge you to do all you can to stop the Logan County Commission's senseless poisoning plan.

For more information, visit Prairie Dog Coalition.

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