On July 18th, a colony of prairie dogs on city land in Lafayette, CO came under threat when a city-contracted company laid out traps for their capture and extermination. Public outcry—over the removal as well as the fact that trapped animals were left to suffer in extreme heat for hours—created enough pressure to stop the trapping, and those prairie dogs who had been captured were released. But their fate is not yet decided.
City council and city staff will decide the colony's fate on September 4th. At this time, we do not know if the city will continue with the extermination. We believe better solutions are available and are looking to demonstrate continued public support for this colony as well as other colonies in peril.
Great horned owls, foxes, coyotes, red-tailed hawks and falcons have been known to hunt in this field. Mountain plovers, whose decline has been linked to the decline of prairie dogs, hatch their young there each year. Native wildflowers bloom here. With the importance of prairie dogs to the ecosystem and their shrinking numbers, we need to make an effort to preserve every colony we can.
We are asking the City of Lafayette for the following:
- Allow this colony to remain on this land.
- Increase protection for all prairie dogs in Lafayette, whether on public, city-owned or private land.
- The formation of a working group of concerned citizens and advocates that can work with the city to make sure humane best practices are followed and all potential options for prairie dogs in danger are examined.
- A more thorough and protective prairie dog management policy.
We have been getting support from the Prairie Dog Coalition of the Humane Society of the United States and Prairie Protection Colorado. We already have the support of one city council member. Please help us convince the rest of city council and city staff that this keystone species is worth fighting for!
Update #3about a year ago
The Water Tank Colony is out of danger for now! The city is listening to our demand for increased protection for prairie dogs and prairie ecosystems. Thank you for your support, 107,000 signatures in 8 days and still counting! Supporters speak of the importance of prairie dogs in the ecosystem, their support of predators, their complex language, the need for diverse gene pools, wildlife corridors and their love for the animals of course :) We aren’t done yet, please continue to support us!
Update #2about a year ago
The city will receive your signatures in just a few hours. The compassion and caring for you have shown for the prairie dogs has been incredibly meaningful. We will know that all of you are standing behind us as we present the petition at city council tonight. Thank you, everyone, for your generous support!
Update #1about a year ago
Overwhelmed by your show of support, thank you so much! If you live nearby, please join us September 4th when we will deliver the petition and fight in person for the prairie dogs. At 5:30, the city will conduct a workshop regarding prairie dogs, public can be there, but will not be able to comment. At 6:30, there is open public comment - that is when we will deliver your comments and signatures. Again, thank you for your support! (Lafayette City Hall, 1290 S. Public Rd., Lafayette, CO 80026)