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Wind Cave National Park

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The population of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) in Wind Cave National Park has been rapidly expanding since periodic poisoning programs were discontinued in the mid-1960s. This population increase is alarming to park resource managers because: 1) the native prairie component of the park is shrinking every year due to encroachment of forest and modification by prairiedogs; 2) the loss of productive range is believed to be reducing the park's capacity to support other wildlife species; and 3) the park is being accused by local landowners of being a reservoir for prairie dogs infesting adjacent rangeland. Since lethal control measures on these animals have been discouraged (NPS Advisory Board 1980), basic knowledge of prairie dog dispersal is necessary in order to better manage the park's resources.