Animal group wants to help with prairie dogs

Susan Hubby says the Citizens for Prairie Dogs, to which she belongs, would be willing to relocate the prairie dogs at Ned Houk Park at no cost to the city.

But because of their breeding habits, that could not happen until June.

CNJ staff photo

The Clovis City Commission meets 8 a.m. today to discuss a budget change request for rodenticide for prairie dogs at Ned Houk Park.

City Mayor David Lansford said time is of the essence and the prairie dogs need to be removed now before they destroy the city-owned park north of Clovis and the surrounding pastures and farmland.

The commission is holding a special meeting 8 a.m. today to consider an emergency budget transfer to purchase up to 250 containers of Rozol, a rodenticide, to reduce populations at Ned Houk Park.

"Unfortunately some people are really fond of prairie dogs," Lansford said.

Landowners neighboring Ned Houk Park gained the support of the Clovis City Commission to help eradicating the football-sized burrowing rodents during a Feb. 21 meeting.

Hubby said he voiced her concerns about poisoning the prairie dogs with the chemical Rozol in a heated phone conversation with Lansford, but hung up before she could tell the mayor about her group's offer to relocate the animals.

Lindsay Sterling Krank, environmental scientist and director of the Prairie Dog Coalition, has sent two e-mails to the mayor and city commissioners urging them to use non-lethal methods of removing the prairie dogs. In these e-mails she mentioned the prairie dogs could be relocated at no cost. In the second e-mail sent on Thursday night she urged them to wait until early summer to relocate the prairie dogs.

According to Hubby, prairie dog relocation involves flushing the highly social creatures out of the ground with water. Mother prairie dogs tend to stay in their nests during nesting season and drown during relocation. Since it is nearly nesting season, Hubby and her team cannot begin relocation until early summer.

Hubby said she has notified The Sierra Club, Wild Earth Guardians and Prairie Dog Coalition of the city's intentions, and asked them for help.

If the city moves forward with its plan to poison the burrowing rodent, Hubby plans on documenting the application of Rozol and will send the results to the aforementioned environmental advocacy groups and state officials.

What: City commission special meeting

When: 8 a.m. today

Where: Clovis City Hall

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