The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a long tradition of scientific excellence and always uses the best-available science to inform its work to conserve fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitat for the benefit of the American public.
Created in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, today's National Wildlife Refuge System protects habitats and wildlife across the country, from the Alaskan tundra to subtropical wetlands. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Refuge System's 560-plus refuges cover more than 150 million acres and protect nearly 1,400 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
While national wildlife refuges were created to protect wildlife, they are for people too. Refuges are ideal places for people of all ages to explore and connect with the natural world. We invite you to learn more about and visit the national wildlife refuges and wetland management districts in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Mountain-Prairie Region's Office of Ecological Services (ES) works to restore and protect healthy populations of fish, wildlife, and plants and the environments upon which they depend. Using the best available science, ES personnel work with Federal, State, Tribal, local, and non-profit stakeholders, as well as private land owners, to avoid, minimize, and mitigate threats to our Nation's natural resources.
Providing leadership in the conservation of migratory bird habitat through partnerships, grants, and outreach for present and future generations. The Migratory Bird Program is responsible for maintaining healthy migratory bird populations for the benefit of the American people.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program in the Mountain-Prairie Region helps conserve, protect, and enhance aquatic resources and provides economically valuable recreational fishing to anglers across the country. The program comprises 12 National Fish Hatcheries.
Law enforcement is essential to virtually every aspect of wildlife conservation. The Office of Law Enforcement contributes to Service efforts to manage ecosystems, save endangered species, conserve migratory birds, preserve wildlife habitat, restore fisheries, combat invasive species, and promote international wildlife conservation.
External Affairs staff in the Mountain-Prairie Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides support to the regional office and field stations to communicate and facilitate information about the Service's programs to the public, media, Congress, Tribes, partners, and other stakeholders in the 8-state region.
Gunnison's prairie dog, Petrified Forest National Park. Credit: Hallie Larsen/National Park Service.
Gunnison's prairie dog at Petrified Forest National Park. Credit: National Park Service photo.
Gunnison's prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni)
Species Description: The Gunnison's prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni) is a yellowish buff color mixed with black above; slightly paler below with a short, white-tipped tail. It is approximately 12-14 inches in length, between 12-15 inches tall, weighing about 23–42 ounces. The Gunnison's prairie dog is one of five species of prairie dog, all of which are native to North America. The Gunnison's prairie dog is a keystone species of the sagebrush ecosystem. They create habitat, provide food, and help keep the soil and plant communities healthy. For example, their abandoned burrows are used by burrowing owls, weasels, snakes, badgers, and even foxes. The prairie dog is an important food source for coyote, weasels, foxes, hawks, eagles, and the endangered black footed ferret. In addition, their burrowing helps to aerate the soil, add organic matter, and help to increase water penetration.
Location: The Gunnison's prairie dog occurs in the four corners area of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah.
Recent Actions:Today, November 14, 2013, the Service announced the completion of a 12-month status review in response to a petition to list the Gunnison’s prairie dog as a threatened or endangered species. The review has determined that protecting the Gunnison’s prairie dog under the Endangered Species Act is not warranted at this time.
The Service has determined that populations of the Gunnison’s prairie dog located in central and south-central Colorado and north-central New Mexico are warranted for protection under the Endangered Species Act. However, listing these populations at this time is precluded by pending actions for other species with higher listing priorities. The Service also determined that Gunnison’s prairie dog populations in Arizona, Utah, and elsewhere in Colorado and New Mexico are not warranted for listing.