Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM


Two Prairie Dogs Prairie Dogs
Going, going, gone...

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Subfamily: Sciurinae
Genus: Cynomys
Species: ludovicianus



YouTube Logo Click Here for my YouTube video of a Prairie Dog barking in east Boulder...

Don't forget, Prairie Dog Day is every February 2nd (same as Groundhog Day)!


A Keystone Species:

- Roger J. Wendell
Aurora, Colorado - 1998

*Black-tailed, Gunnison's, Mexican, Utah, and White-tailed

Note: the 1993 edition of The Dictionary of Ecology (Henry W. Art, General Editor), defines a "Keystone Species" as organisms that play dominant roles in an ecosystem and affect many other organisms...




Click on any of this page's "Thumbnail" images for a larger view!


Prairie Dog Day Radio Interview!
(Prairie Dog Day falls on the same date as Groundhog Day)

Prairie Dogs, Communication and Community in an Animal Society On Monday morning, February 2nd (2009), I had the good fortune to conduct a Prairie Dog interview on A Public Affair, one of the radio programs I host at KGNU. My guests were Lindsey Sterling Krank and Dr. C. N. Slobodchikoff. Lindsey is an environmental scientist and Executive Director of the Prairie Dog Coalition and Dr. Slobodchikoff is a professor of biology at Northern Arizona University. Additionally, Dr. Slobochikoff is co-author (with Bianca Perla and Jennifer Verdolin) of the book, Prairie Dogs - Communication and Community in an Animal Society. Our time together was packed-full of information about Prairie Dogs so I hope listeners will use it as an opportunity in acting to protect these special creatures!

Listen Icon Click Here to listen to the entire interview (it's a 22mb mp3 file)

Lindsey Sterling Krank and Dr C.N. Slobodchikoff at KGNU - 02-02-2009 Dr C.N. Slobodchikoff at KGNU - 02-02-2009 Lindsey Sterling Krank and Dr C.N. Slobodchikoff at KGNU - 02-02-2009 Lindsey Sterling Krank and Dr C.N. Slobodchikoff at KGNU - 02-02-2009 Lindsey Sterling Krank and Dr C.N. Slobodchikoff at KGNU - 02-02-2009
All KGNU photos by Judith Miller Smith


Prairie Dog Species and Genus - Some Naming History
by Dr. C.N Slobodchikoff in Prairie Dogs (Communication and Community in an Animal Society) pp. 35-36

"All of the five species of prairie dogs are members of the genus Cynomys, which was named and described as a genus in 1817 by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque. Rafinesque also described a species of prairie dog in this new genus, Cynomys socialis, which was subsequently found to be the same as the species ludovicianus described by George Ord two years earlier in 1815 (taxonomists refer to such names as synonyms and the process of identifying different names that refer to the same organism as synonymy). However, Ord described the black-tail prairie dog species ludovicianus as a member of another genus, Arctomys, which was the genus in which marmots were included until the marmot genus name changed to Marmota. Because Ord described the species Ludovicianus in 1815, two years before Rafinesque described the same animal as socialis, Ord's species description is considered to be the valid one (this is called priority in taxonomy), even though he described it in a different genus. The species Ludovicianus was moved to the genus Cynomys in 1858 by Spencer Fullerton Barid. Baird was also the fist to name and describe the Gunnison's prairie dog, Cynomys gunnisoni. He published his description of this species in 1855 but thought that it belonged in a different genus of ground squirrels, the genus Spermophilus. In 1858 he decided that gunnisoni was really a prairie dog, and changed the genus designation to Cynomys. The white-tailed prairie dog species leucurtus was named and described by C. Hart Merriam in 1890, and the Mexican prairie dog species mexicanus was also named and described by Merriam in 1892. The Utah prairie dog species, parvidens, was named and described by Joseph Asaph Allen in 1905. By the time Merriam and Allen were describing species, the prairies dog genus Cynomys was well established, and all three species described by these two people were placed in this genus."




Threatened and Endangered:

Utah Prairie Dog Sign Utah Prairie Dog Sign During the fall of 2000 I drove through some magnificant Prairie Dog habitat in our neighboring state of Utah. It's so sad that the government has to put up signs reminding people not harm or kill these wonderful creatures. I hope my little web page helps people better understand how important it is to not only protect Prairie Dogs, but all other living creatures and habitat as well! - Roger J. Wendell


"Nine different species of wildlife depend on the prairie dog and their habitat for
survival. The prairie dog is a critical component to healthy North American Grasslands."

- Dr. Jane Goodall
UN Messenger of Peace


Lewis and Clark Expedition
(1804 - 1806)

Sacajawea with Lewis and Clark "The little animals found in the plains of the Missouri which I have called the barking squirrel... generally associate in large societies placing their burrows near each other and frequently occupy in this manner several hundred acres of land... They will generally set and bark at you as you approach them, their note being much that of the little toy dogs, their yelps are in quick succession and at each they give a motion to their tail upwards."
- Meriwether Lewis, July 1, 1806


"Prairie dogs disappeared into their holes and then reemerged, standing for a better look, their curiosity ultimately stronger than their
fear. I talked to some of the closer ones, inquired about the weather and how they liked it, this prairie. I realized that what for me was
open space full of solitude, for the prairie dog was a highly populated community, with no shortage of social opportunities."

- Daryl Farmer in his book,
Bicycling beyond the Divide
(Two Journeys into the West), p. 47




Kids "get it," why can't the rest of us??

5th Grader Thomas Price, an 11 year old at Stratton Elementary School
in Colorado Springs, wrote this about Prairie Dogs in the April/May/June
2005 edition of the Sierra Club's Peak & Prairie publication (p. 11):




Prairie Dog Rescue:

Prairie Dog habitat, especially here in Colorado, is constantly being gobbled-up by development. When the destruction can't be stopped many resort to physically "rescuing" the Prairie Dogs to another location. The methods and success rates vary but it's certainly something to consider when all else fails. I, myself, have assisted with a couple of Prairie Dog rescue missions including this one on May 16, 1998 near the Denver Tech Center. This particular operation was conducted by Susan Miller, founder of Wild Places - okay, maybe I wasn't that much help but I'm thankful I captured these pictures!

Jeff Wind Prairie Dog Rescue Injecting Soapy Water Jeff Wind Injects Soapy Water
Jeff Wind Prairie Dog Rescue Jeff Wind Prairie Dog Rescue Jeff Wind Prairie Dog Rescue

In the top three photos Jeff Wind and Susan Miller are injecting soapy water into the Prairie Dog den in an effort to coax the animals to the surface. Although wet and disoriented, the Prairie Dogs (and their young) make their way to warm towels and caring hands that transport them to quiet and secure enclosures for travel. Sometimes medications are administered depending on the health of the colony and other factors.

In the bottom three photographs you can see one of the babies being dried and prepared for transport. Normally every effort is made to minimize human contact or actual touching. Some of the volunteers were eager to please the photographer, something we'll be more careful about in the future...

It was at about that time, in the late 90s and early 2000s, that local governments throughout Colorado started working on laws to discourage the inter-county transfer of Prairie Dogs - a disgusting political tactic designed to stop rescue operations altogether!




Aurora Outreach:

I-225 and Alameda Ave.
Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Jenny and Paula tell it like it is!
I-225 and Alameda Protest
Spacer Aurora needs to know!

So much has been lost - The wild grasses, Prairie Dogs, and the huge open spaces that were once our birthright. It has been gratifying to spend a few moments with caring, thoughtful activists willing to take their time to act. - Roger J. Wendell




Prairie Dog Photos by Sandy Nervig:

I've posted these photos with Sandy's permission - if you'd like copies of the originals, or
a version with a higher resolution than these, please contact Sandy at: sandyn@rockin. tv

Tower & Hampden

Tower & Hampden, Aurora

Tower & Hampden

Eating scarlet globe mallow

"Love huddle"

"The Matrix" - pups playing




CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation)

Saturday, May 19, 2001:
Folks from the Sierra Club's High Plains Group and Wilderness Defense! participated in a CDOT protest organized by RMAD (Rocky Mountain Animal Defense). Due to construction on Parker Road, in-between Hampden and I-225, CDOT planned to remove hundreds of Prairie Dogs and use them as Ferret food.

RMAD, as a last resort, asked CDOT, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the City of Aurora to relocate these Prairie Dogs - the expense would be less than .15% (point one five percent) of the project's construction costs!  RMAD, the Sierra Club's High Plains Group and Wilderness Defense! all believe that the road should have never been widened in the first place and that the land and Prairie Dogs should be left alone!

That same evening Judy, Kerry and Susan were featured on Denver's Channel 2, 4, 7, 9 and Fox news programs to stress the importance of Prairie Dogs and intact ecosystems.

Denver News 4 interviews Judy - May 19, 2001
Judy on News 4
CDOT Prairie Dog Protest - May 19, 2001
Judy makes a point
CDOT Prairie Dog Protest - May 19, 2001
Kerry on News 4
CDOT Prairie Dog Protest - May 19, 2001
Stop the torture
CDOT Prairie Dog Protest - May 19, 2001
Stop the killing
CDOT Prairie Dog Protest - May 19, 2001
Two in the wind
CDOT Prairie Dog Protest - May 19, 2001
CDOT and the Army Corps of Engineers
CDOT Prairie Dog Protest - May 19, 2001
Corner outreach
CDOT Prairie Dog Protest - May 19, 2001
CDOT Prairie Dog Protest - May 19, 2001
Lined up in protest
CDOT Prairie Dog Protest - May 19, 2001


Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my "Signs of Protest" page...




Grocery Store Outreach:

Volunteers for Grocery Store Outreach
Me and Dianna VanderDoes
Volunteers for Grocery Store Outreach
Signing up
Volunteers for Grocery Store Outreach
Crowds gather
Saturday, March 25th, 2000:
Sierra Club and Wilderness Defense!
members sought signatures for an open space
campaign that will help protect prairie dog habitat
around the Denver area and Colorado.




Parker Road Outreach:

Sunday, December 5th, 1999:
Rocky Mountain Animal Defense (RMAD) conducted an educational campaign against the poisoning of thousands of Prairie Dogs in the southeast corner of the Denver Metro area (Near E-470 and Parker Road). Members of Wilderness Defense! joined the large RMAD contingent with these photos as a result:

All Along the Road
All Along the Road...
Parker Road Prairie Dog Protest - 12-05-1999
Snow was not a problem
Parker Road Prairie Dog Protest - 12-05-1999
Cold Weather Outreach
Parker Road Prairie Dog Protest - 12-05-1999
Halt the Extermination
Parker Road Prairie Dog Protest - 12-05-1999
Lining Up
Parker Road Prairie Dog Protest - 12-05-1999
Outreach with a View
Parker Road Prairie Dog Protest - 12-05-1999
Young but serious
Parker Road Prairie Dog Protest - 12-05-1999
Passing Out Fliers
Parker Road Prairie Dog Protest - 12-05-1999
Read my sign!
Parker Road Prairie Dog Protest - 12-05-1999
RMAD meets the press...
Parker Road Prairie Dog Protest - 12-05-1999
Sunday Services...
Parker Road Prairie Dog Protest - 12-05-1999
Welcome to the Suburbs!
Parker Road Prairie Dog Protest - 12-05-1999
Parker Rd Prairie Dog Home
Parker Road Prairie Dog Protest - 12-05-1999
Threatened Parker Rd Habitat




Yellow Arrow Pointing Right
Click Here for the free online version of the
Urban and Suburban Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Handbook (1.7 Mb).
Hardcopies are availbe for a $5 donation, please contact Sandy Nervig at: sandyn@rockin. tv


Prairie Dog Consultants:


Prairie and Prairie Dog Links:


Other Links:

  1. Activists - folks on the frontlines!!
  2. All My Relations
  3. Animal Language Institute
  4. Animals and wildlife
  5. Ant Web
  6. Backyard Wildlife
  7. Biology
  8. Biodiversity
  9. Biomimicry
  10. Bioneers
  11. BFC - Buffalo Field Campaign
  12. Climate Change
  1. Deep Ecology
  2. Evolution
  3. Extinction
  4. Game of Life by John Conway (1970)
  5. GMOs and Cloning
  6. Insects
  7. Organic Evolution - 3.8 Billion years of it!
  8. Plants
  9. Science Stuff
  10. Wilderness Defense!
  11. Wildlife AnimalTrek
  12. World Charter for Nature - United Nations




Back Back to Roger J. Wendell's Home Page...

Web Counter Logo


Abbey | About | Blog | Contacting Me | Copyright | Disclaimer | Donate | Guest Book | Home | Site Index | Solutions | Terms, Conditions and Fair Use
Copyright © 1955 -