Have you ever heard the saying, “it takes a village” ? Last week, we saw this saying in action when a whole slew of partners came together in an effort to release a single injured Black – tailed Prairie Dog: a keystone species in Colorado. A young woman found the prairie dog in her apartment complex (thanks to her curious canine) far from the burrows in a nearby field. The animal was barely moving, tilting her head and waddling slowly. As a previous rat owner, the woman knew right away something was wrong. She called Greenwood and was given instructions on how to safely contain the injured animal and accurately record it’s location so we could release it in the same spot later.
During the animal’s three weeks at Greenwood, she was treated with a course of antibiotics and pain medicine. She was also fed a healthy diet of specialized rodent show, oxford hay and timothy grass, and occasionally sweet potato and apple. When she was ready for release, Greenwood worked with the HSUS Prairied Dog Coalition. As experts in prairie dog colonies and rescue, they know how to plan a successful release. The Director of the HSUS – Prairie Dog Coalition, Lindsey Sterling-Krank explained there are several reasons why they want to release to the same colony. “If she is familiar with the area and integrated into the social structure of the colony already, she has a better chance.”
Before finalizing their release plan, they had to get approval from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The land in which the prairie dog colony resided happened to be owned by Celestial Seasonings*, and so yet another entity was added to this collaborative effort. Lindsay, Director of the Prairie Dog Coalition said, “ It takes a long time to build successful relationships (with colleagues) but it is worth it because it because the animal gets a speedy release which is the best thing for it.”
In the case of this prairie dog, like many others, it starts with a concerned member of our “village”, and ends with the working hands of several nonprofits, businesses and government agencies to give one P – dog another chance.
*Celestial Seasonings is a proud supporter of Greenwood Wildlife