MEDIA RELEASE: Thousands Call for Relocation of Prairie Dogs Threatened by Construction
DENVER (October 22, 2021) — In Defense of Animals is pleased to learn that officials in Arapahoe County are moving forward with an effort to save prairie dogs threatened by the construction of a Comcast parking lot after thousands of people joined them in calling for the relocation of this colony.
“Our expanding human population is forcing prairie dogs and many other wild animals to lose their homes and their lives to development, but there is no reason for that to happen in Arapahoe,” said Lisa Levinson, Campaigns Director for In Defense of Animals. “We’re thrilled so many people have spoken out to save the Comcast prairie dogs.”
The project for the development of an area located just south of a Comcast building in the Iliff Business Park was approved on July 27 by the Arapahoe Board of County Commissioners. The land is currently home to a colony of approximately 60-80 black-tailed prairie dogs.
While Comcast has stated support for relocating the colony, the company maintains that a site needs to be approved by November 1.
The role that county commissioners play is important. Commissioners had previously ignored residents’ requests to see the animals moved and refused to get involved, claiming they had “no agency in the matter” even though Colorado is a “local control” state when it comes to land use planning authority. Under the Local Government Land Use Control Enabling Act, counties and municipalities have the “authority to plan for and regulate the use of land within their jurisdiction.”
In June, 6 out of 10 community respondents to the Arapahoe County Open Space Master Plan stated the need to “preserve and protect wildlife” and to “protect riparian corridors and wildlife habitat.” Arapahoe County Commissioners must not disregard their constituents' interest in protecting wildlife.
Black-tailed prairie dogs are highly intelligent and social animals who communicate with each other via a sophisticated vocal language. They’re also a keystone species, providing a critical part of healthy prairie ecosystems and provide both a food source and habitat for over 100 flora and fauna species.
Their population has decreased significantly due to a 95% decrease of their natural range. Prairie dogs are increasingly threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation caused by human population growth. Black-tailed prairie dogs are a species of special concern as listed in the Colorado Wildlife Action Plan.
More than 13,000 people have signed In Defense of Animals’ and Prairie Protection Colorado’s alert in support of relocation. Right now, Tindakan Director Jeremy Gregory and wildlife advocates are working out the logistics of the relocation efforts with Arapahoe County officials and Comcast.
“The issue of the Comcast prairie dogs is a microcosm of a much larger issue in the state of Colorado,” says Gregory. “We are at a crossroads where we can either continue to follow a destructive single-bottom line paradigm, or we can focus on a high impact triple-bottom line solution for community, environment, and profits.”
Members of the public are encouraged to learn more and take action here.
Lisa Levinson, email@example.com, 215-620-2130
Jeremy Gregory, firstname.lastname@example.org, 720-364-0972
This initiative is a coalition effort:
In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in California with over 250,000 supporters and a 38-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi. www.idausa.org/wildanimals
Tindakan supports solution-based endeavors that focus on ecological and social justice issues, worldwide. https://tindakan.org
Canada Geese Protection Colorado is a grassroots activist group formed by Denver residents after 1,662 geese were rounded up from parks in the City and County of Denver and exterminated in 2019 without meaningful public notice or engagement. CGPC’s mission is to support peaceful activism and meaningful outreach to encourage the City and County of Denver to stop killing geese, shift to humane methods of goose management, engage and notify the public in a meaningful manner, and support our food insecure citizens with healthy, non-pesticide-laden food. CGPC is an all volunteer organization supported by a core team. https://canadageeseprotectioncolorado.com
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