Last week, the city of Lubbock, Texas came into the International crosshairs of wildlife advocates, after a group of European tourists were guided to a prairie dog colony on private land, only to be told that parks and recreation officials had quietly arrived in the dead of night a few weeks earlier, to infuse the burrows with poison.
According to biologist, prairie dog expert and coordinator of the group, Gena Seaberg, the genetically rare black-eyed white prairie dog colony, which had a population of several hundred adults and juveniles, was the only one of its kind in the world.
The action stunned and saddened those closely associated with the colony, because relocation efforts were being planned for later in the summer.
Fortunately, there were a few survivors of the cold-hearted extermination act, which was sanctioned by Lubbock city government, but Dr. Seaberg was not able to get an accurate count.
However, the unidentified landowner was able to obtain a court order to temporarily stop any further inhumane and tortuous poisoning, but it will only be in effect until October.
“These were not the typical black-tailed prairie dogs that are found in various spots throughout your city,” Seaberg wrote to Lubbock city officials. “Actually, this was the LAST known colony of black-eyed white prairie dogs that exist in the world. There are no other known colonies anywhere, period. They cannot be replaced.”
Surrounding neighbors to the site consider prairie dogs to be a nuisance and refuse to consider the ecosystem value of a species that has been exterminated down to a scant 2% of its original population across the eleven states of its historic range.
Meanwhile, wildlife and prairie dog conservation advocates are scrambling to get appropriate land, appropriate resources and relocation details finalized, in the event that city officials refuse to compromise in the effort to save the remaining prairie dogs.
Furthermore, anyone interested in preventing the city of Lubbock from driving this small population of rare prairie dogs even closer to genetic extinction can join the call-to-action here.
Advocates are planning an event on June 29 in Lubbock to help save the remaining prairie dogs.
City of Lubbock contact information