Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) manages Colorado's State Parks. Recently Prairie Protection Colorado has learned that CPW park managers have been poisoning thousands of prairie dog burrows in both Cherry Creek and Chatfield State Parks. The poisoning of thousands of prairie dogs, a rapidly declining keystone species of the prairie community, in turn ends up killing many non-targeted animals. The toxic poison used to exterminate these prairie dogs has a brand name Fumitoxin, a phosphine gas that causes an excruciating death that lasts between 2 and 7 days as the animal slowing bleeds to death from the inside out. This is an incredibly inhumane way to kill any living being.
In addition, at Cherry Creek State Park, burrowing owls, listed as a State Threatened Species, chose to have their young this year at the park for the first time in over 10 years. The CPW park managers took no special precautions to protect this habitat for the owls and the prairie dogs, but rather they made the decision to poison over 2100 prairie dog burrows during burrowing owl season. This act was a direct violation of their own Black Tailed Prairie Dog Management Plan.
Prairie Protection Colorado made numerous attempts to meet with CPW in order to discuss this blatant violation of their policy as well as to voice our concern about the use of restricted use pesticides in our state parks. We requested a meeting with CPW managers at Cherry Creek State Park to tour the area in an attempt to better understand their reasoning for killing so many prairie dogs. CPW refused to meet us at the park, and after much struggle, they told us we could meet at a Panera Bread restaurant or not at all. During this meeting, they would not directly answer any of our questions, they withheld information from us and have refused to be transparent with our organization and residents of this state.
Please sign our petition and demand that CPW be held accountable to the residents, and wildlife, of Colorado and that they follow science and protect the cherished wildlife in our parks. Your signature will help us demand that CPW put an end to restricted use pesticides in our parks and that they implement public comment periods prior to destroying any wildlife and habitat in our parks.
It is our responsibility to ensure that Colorado Parks and Wildlife listens to the public and implements policies that protect our rapidly declining prairie communities. We refuse to continue to bear witness to the same old tired pattern of the state's wildlife officials making uneducated decisions, not based in science, to exterminate a keystone species along with numerous plant and wildlife populations that depend on them. Signing our petition is a first step in ensuring a protected future for our prairie communties.
Prairie Protection Colorado