The Story
In the heart of the Colorado Front Range, the plight of the black-tailed prairie dog stands as a stark reminder of the delicate balance between development and conservation. Once sprawling over 200 million acres, this key-stone species' habitat has dwindled to 2%. Due to voracious growth in the Front Range, prairie dogs are pushed into ever-shrinking pockets of land and inevitably find themselves sandwiched between commercial buildings and residential areas.  
Yet, there is hope in the form of passionate citizens and dedicated organizations like the Prairie Dog Coalition and Prairie Protection Colorado. They work tirelessly to champion prairie dog relocation and advocate for legislation that could safeguard their future. In the shadows of this drama, small but determined groups of volunteers work long hours during the summer and early fall to relocate the prairie dogs that they were lucky enough to get a relocation permit.  
Together, these groups cut a path towards coexistence. The future of this species in Colorado hinges on our collective will to consider wildlife while developing our evolving landscapes. 
A black-tailed prairie dog perches on it's burrow in the middle of a construction site in Centennial Colorado.  The rest of it's colony was bulldozed alive weeks earlier to make way for an office complex.  This animal was rescued by Karen Carter and taken to a relocation site in Pueblo Colorado.
A black-tailed prairie dog perches on it's burrow in the middle of a construction site in Centennial Colorado. The rest of it's colony was bulldozed alive weeks earlier to make way for an office complex. This animal was rescued by Karen Carter and taken to a relocation site in Pueblo Colorado.
Activist Karen Carter protests the death of prairie dogs that were bulldozed over while still alive.  Centennial, CO
Activist Karen Carter protests the death of prairie dogs that were bulldozed over while still alive. Centennial, CO
A black-tailed prairie dog rests on its burrow while construction carries on in the adjacent lot.  The undeveloped lot is scheduled for developement in the spring.  Prairie dog advocates scramble to get the developer to agree to relocating the animals before winter.
A black-tailed prairie dog rests on its burrow while construction carries on in the adjacent lot. The undeveloped lot is scheduled for developement in the spring. Prairie dog advocates scramble to get the developer to agree to relocating the animals before winter.
A vigilant black-tailed prairie dog surveys her colony for threats at Heil Ranch in Lyons, Colorado.  Workers from Colorado Parks and Wildlife have been walking through the colony baiting traps, so she is on high alert.
A vigilant black-tailed prairie dog surveys her colony for threats at Heil Ranch in Lyons, Colorado. Workers from Colorado Parks and Wildlife have been walking through the colony baiting traps, so she is on high alert.
A black-tailed prairie dog sits on a mound near a sign that details the coming development project.
A black-tailed prairie dog sits on a mound near a sign that details the coming development project.
A Field Worker Sets a Prairie Dog trap up at Hiel Valey Ranch in Lyons, CO
A Field Worker Sets a Prairie Dog trap up at Hiel Valey Ranch in Lyons, CO
A prairie dog stands by a cage holding two trapped prairie dogs.  The trapped animals will be taked the the Black Footed Ferret breeding facility in Fort Collins Colorado.
A prairie dog stands by a cage holding two trapped prairie dogs. The trapped animals will be taked the the Black Footed Ferret breeding facility in Fort Collins Colorado.
After grooming her baby, a mother black-tailed prairie dog playfully bursts into full speed as her young one runs behind to catch up.  (Cynomys ludovicianus).  Standley Lake Wildlife Refuge & Park, Westminster, Colorado, USA. June 2021
After grooming her baby, a mother black-tailed prairie dog playfully bursts into full speed as her young one runs behind to catch up. (Cynomys ludovicianus). Standley Lake Wildlife Refuge & Park, Westminster, Colorado, USA. June 2021
A juvenile black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) initiates a prairie dog "kiss" with his mother.  The "kiss" interaction serves multiple purposes for prairie dogs. It  seems to be used as a way to say hi, to bond and to identify an individual. At the risk of anthromophizing, the juvenile looks content. He playfully holds her snout in place.  Standley Lake Wildlife Refuge & Park, Westminster, Colorado, USA.   June 2021
A juvenile black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) initiates a prairie dog "kiss" with his mother. The "kiss" interaction serves multiple purposes for prairie dogs. It seems to be used as a way to say hi, to bond and to identify an individual. At the risk of anthromophizing, the juvenile looks content. He playfully holds her snout in place. Standley Lake Wildlife Refuge & Park, Westminster, Colorado, USA. June 2021
Two adult prairie dogs greet each other with a "kiss" while a baby stands by.  Standley Lake Regional Park, Arvada Colorado USA
Two adult prairie dogs greet each other with a "kiss" while a baby stands by. Standley Lake Regional Park, Arvada Colorado USA
Standley Lake Regional Park hosts multiple colonies of black-tailed prairie dogs.  Behind the prairie dog you can see urban sprawl on the horizon. Standley Lake Regional Park, Arvada Colorado
Standley Lake Regional Park hosts multiple colonies of black-tailed prairie dogs. Behind the prairie dog you can see urban sprawl on the horizon. Standley Lake Regional Park, Arvada Colorado
On alert, the standing prairie dog issues a yip to his colony mates to alert them of the photographer's presence.  Prairie dogs have a suprisingly complex language that they use to alert others in their colony.
On alert, the standing prairie dog issues a yip to his colony mates to alert them of the photographer's presence. Prairie dogs have a suprisingly complex language that they use to alert others in their colony.
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