Endangered Species | Mammals
Mountain-Prairie Region
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Gunnison's prairie dog

 

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  • Gunnison's prairie dog. Credit: Hallie Larsen/National Park Service.

    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 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.


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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.

Service's 12-Month Finding

Service's 90-Day Finding

 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: July 08, 2015
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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