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Prairie Dog Pups Signal Success for Re-Introduced Colony at Bosque
Southwest Region, May 15, 2009
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Black-tailed Prairie Dog Pup accompanys paraent on first venture out of its burrow. Photo: Aaron Drew/FWS
Black-tailed Prairie Dog Pup accompanys paraent on first venture out of its burrow. Photo: Aaron Drew/FWS - Photo Credit: n/a
Black-tailed Prairie Dog Pup with parent at re-established colony on Bosque del Apache NWR. Photo: Aaron Drew/FWS
Black-tailed Prairie Dog Pup with parent at re-established colony on Bosque del Apache NWR. Photo: Aaron Drew/FWS - Photo Credit: n/a

 

Spring is in the air at the Bosque del Apache NWR and the refuge is teeming with new generations of wildlife – American Avocet chicks, Canada geese goslings, and Mule deer fawn are just some of the sightings that visitors, staff, and volunteers have reported in the ladder weeks of May. Yet none have generated more excitement than the confirmed emergence of ten Black-tailed Prairie Dog pups at a newly re-introduced colony that was established on the refuge last year. On May 18, ten pups were observed making their first appearance at the colony, five of these were observed at one burrow, four at another, and one more at a third. Refuge Biologist Colin Lee, who coordinated the re-introduction efforts of the prairie dogs in 2008, speculates that mating occurred in late February or early March of this year. By late March and early April, Lee observed female prairie dogs taking grass clippings into their burrows, so he speculates that the 10 pups were likely born in early to mid-April and remained underground until their emergence in mid-May. The presence of these pups indicates that the re-introduced colony is proving a success, which is important to this species, whose overall population range has experienced a decline in the states where it can be found.


Contact Info: Shawn Gillette, , shawn_gillette@fws.gov



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