“The current situation is that they’re doomed to die within the next couple of months when development starts unless the city council decides to relocate this particular population.”
Concerned residents and activists with Wildlands Defense Colorado are urging the Boulder City Council to allow a colony of prairie dogs at the Armory site in North Boulder to be relocated to open space land.
On Thursday July 14th, a group of activists held signs and engaged with passing traffic urging them to relocate the prairie dog colony from the Armory Site on North Broadway and Lee Hill.
The Armory Site has been owned by the National Guard for several decades. The 8.5 acres was recently sold to a developer who has submitted a lethal permit application to the City of Boulder to be allowed to euthanize the prairie dogs prior to the development of the land.
The landowner has agreed to pay for all of the costs associated with relocation and has offered to pay the city $5000 in addition.
There are 16 acres on a 3,000 acre short grass open space property south of Boulder. The activists are asking the city for permission to move the colony of about 50-75 prairie dogs to that new site.
Carse Pustmuller, a resident in this North Boulder neighborhood has a doctorate in animal ecology and says she is very concerned about the future of this prairie dog colony. “The current situation is that they’re doomed to die within the next couple of months when development starts unless the city council decides to relocate this particular population to the available 16 acres that have been identified on city land.”
She says even when prairie dogs are relocated, there is often a lot of die off as a result of the move. “Even when you relocate a population about 40-80% of individuals die from stress.”
Pustmuller says there seems to be resistance on the part of the city to relocate the colony to city land with city officials indicating that a better solution would be finding private land instead. However says that is very unrealistic “for the last 10 years not one private land owner has come up and offered their property to relocate prairie dogs.”
Paula Stephani another neighbor of the Armory site says she enjoys the prairie dogs and would hate for them to be killed. “I”ve just really gotten fond of listening to them and I watch their antics during the day…it’s just nice to be reminded that they used to populate this whole area and it’s so easy to overlook them because they’re small and kind of like a ground squirrel.”
The activists are planning on attending the Boulder City Council meeting on July 19th and are asking for the prairie dog issue to be an agenda item at the city council meeting on August 2nd.