North American prairie dog populations have declined 98% since European settlers set foot on our shores. The primary culprit in the decline has been the loss of habitat, as wild lands have been taken over for livestock grazing and farming. Additionally, the misconception that prairie dogs compete with livestock for grasses has led to their intentional extermination in many places. The black-tailed prairie dog is further threatened by the flea-borne sylvatic plague. The Mexican prairie dog is listed as a threatened species, and efforts are being made to list their black-tailed cousins, as well.
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