Wyoming Ecological Services
Mountain-Prairie Region

Federally Listed, Proposed & Candidate Species | Species of Concern | Migratory Birds | All Species By County

 

 

Species of Concern

 

Black-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus)

Distribution of Black Tailed Prarie Dog in Wyoming

Species information from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Wyoming Distribution by County

Campbell, Converse, Crook, Goshen, Johnson, Laramie, Natrona, Niobrara, Platte, Sheridan, Weston

 

Species Information

In December of 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiated a status review for the Black-tailed Prairie Dog throughout its range in the United States (73 FR 73211). The purpose of the status review is to determine whether the species warrants listing as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).  Threats that may be significant to conserving black-tailed prairie dog populations include disease (sylvatic plague) and some control programs (poisoning).  

The range of the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) once spanned the short and mixed grass prairies of North America east of the Rockies from southern Canada to northern Mexico.  This species still occurs over much of its historic range, although in more widely scattered large colonies.  Black-tailed prairie dogs occur within the eastern third of Wyoming.  A population thought to have been intentionally introduced outside of this range also occurs in the Bighorn Basin.  We encourage the conservation of prairie dog colonies for their value to the prairie ecosystem and the many species that rely on them.  Threats that may be significant to conserving black-tailed prairie dog populations include disease (sylvatic plague) and some control programs (poisoning).  Prairie dogs serve as the primary prey species for the black-footed ferret and several raptors, including the golden eagle (Aguila chrysaetos) and ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis).  Prairie dog colonies and burrows also provide shelter or nest sites for species like the mountain plover (Charadrius montanus) and burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia).  Because black-tailed prairie dog colonies in Wyoming do not currently support any ferret populations, black-footed ferret surveys are not necessary within Wyoming.  However, we do encourage evaluating black-tailed prairie dog colonies for the potential reintroduction of black-footed ferrets.

Last updated: March 21, 2014