COMMISSION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION
THREE COUNTRIES WORKING TOGETHER TO PROTECT OUR SHARED ENVIRONMENT
This heavy-bodied squirrel is considered a keystone species since many animals (such as burrowing owls, ferruginous hawks, rattlesnakes and swift foxes) are dependant upon its survival.
Unfortunately, the long-term survival of the black-tailed prairie dog is threatened by disease, small mammal control programs and recreational shooting. Ongoing eradication programs have significantly impacted this species, despite research showing that competition between prairie dogs and cattle is low. Even public lands in the United States, including national parks, have been subject to prairie dog control programs.
Moreover, it has been estimated that about a third of the land area in regions used by prairie dogs has been covered by water developments, urban expansion, cropland, and improved pasture. Scientists calculate that prairie dogs occupy only two percent of their historic range.
The NACAP aims to specifically share mapping and monitoring protocols, create an information bank of education and outreach materials, encourage regulation of intentional killing, define the density of the population and priority habitat areas, and educate decision-makers about the importance of the species to grassland biodiversity.