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Wind Cave National Park

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In Wind Cave National Park, where prairie dogs are fully protected, their numbers have greatly increased over the past few years. Park managers are concerned over the prairie dog's tenacious ability not only to expand their colonies, but to pioneer and establish new ones. The seemingly unpredlctable expansion of prairie dog towns has long amazed and alarmed resource managers. Since the Park's cessation of management efforts in the mid-1950's, prairie dog colonies have grown from less than 500 acres in surface area, to an estimated 1,600 acres. Within the past few years, at least eight new prairie dog colonies have been established in the park. The tendency of prairie dogs to colonize and inhabit productive grasslands on gently rolling terrain is believed to be reductng the range's capacity to support other herbivores such as elk and bison.