Home on the (Front) Range
2014 Wildlife Photo Contest view contest page »
Prairie Dog communities of the West have suffered as a result of both ranchers' cattle safety concerns (now considered unwarranted), and development. From the Defenders of Wildlife "Prairie Dog Fact Sheet" website: "Prairie dogs are considered a “keystone” species because their colonies create islands of habitats that benefit approximately 150 other species. They are also a food source for many animals, including coyotes, eagles, badgers and critically endangered black-footed ferrets [...] Prairie dogs even help aerate and fertilize the soil, allowing a greater diversity of plants to thrive." Picture from Coyote Ridge Natural Area in Fort Collins, Colorado.