Relocations of black-tailed prairie dogs have occurred both to save individual prairie dogs from urban development and to reestablish populations that have been extirpated. Unfortunately, however, many past relocation efforts rarely exceeded 40% retention. Many factors have contributed to very low retention rates in past relocation efforts including lack of (1) suitable habitat, (2) proper artificial burrow systems, (3) aboveground acclimation cages or pens, and (4) skilled people conducting the relocations. In an attempt to increase prairie dog relocation success, we developed techniques that are easy to implement, promote high retention, and effectively conserve labor, financial resources, and prairie dog populations. We conducted 3 relocations along the Front Range of Colorado in 2001 and 2002. Relocation techniques we developed resulted in at least 46%–92% retention. Our results suggest that a large percentage of prairie dogs can be retained by (1) ensuring that habitat is suitable, (2) using underground nest chambers modeled after natural nest chambers, (3) acclimating prairie dogs to the release site in large retention pens rather than in retention caps or other small acclimation cages (i.e., rabbit hutch), and (4) providing supplemental feed and water ad libitum to the prairie dogs.
Roe, Kelly A. and Roe, Christopher M.
"A relocation technique for black-tailed prairie dogs,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 64
, Article 4.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol64/iss4/4