The Bush administration is planning a massive poisoning operation that would target prairie dogs across three National Grasslands in South Dakota and Nebraska.
Prairie dogs are routinely poisoned, shot and bulldozed on both private and public lands, often at taxpayer expense. Adding exotic disease to the widespread colony destruction, it is no wonder the population of this vital species is now at one or two percent of its historic level on these grasslands.
This poisoning plan not only threatens a diminished prairie dog population; it puts other wildlife at risk. Species such as hawks, eagles, foxes, coyotes and black-footed ferrets rely on prairie dog colonies for food, shelter and habitat for survival.
Recent poisoning programs have already destroyed thousands of acres of prime wildlife habitat. This new plan will bring needless destruction to our grasslands and wildlife. We only have a few precious weeks to appeal this latest plan to mass-poison prairie dogs -- please sign our petition today!
Dear U.S. Forest Service,
I am writing to oppose the plan to allow poisoning of prairie dogs in the vast majority of the Buffalo Gap, Fort Pierre, and Oglala National Grasslands in South Dakota and Nebraska.
This massive poisoning plan will operate at the expense of prairie dogs and other wildlife. Prairie dog populations have been reduced by 95 percent over the past 150 years, and colonies continue to be wiped out by disease and poisoning programs. Poisoning the already diminished prairie dog population in this area is senseless and excessive.
Other species that depend on prairie dogs for food, burrows, and additional benefits will find it harder to survive. Specifically, rare species such as the swift fox, burrowing owl, and ferruginous hawk that depend on the affected prairie dogs will not be able to sustain healthy population levels if the plan goes forward.
Poisoning destroys habitats. The massive poisoning of prairie dogs over the past three years on land in and around the private properties in the Buffalo Gap, Fort Pierre and Oglala National Grasslands, destroyed thousands of acres of prairie dog colonies and prime wildlife habitat. This new plan includes nearly all lands in the Buffalo Gap, Fort Pierre, and Oglala National Grasslands (the only areas safe from poisoning are ferret recovery areas, and even those are now in question), which means even wider-spread habitat destruction than before.
I urge you to reconsider this poisoning plan in light of the destruction it will leave in its wake. Please do your part to protect America's wildlife and grasslands, and bring common sense back to the management of these public lands.
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