People and Wildlife
Conflict or Coexistence?
Richard P. Reading
Tim W. Clark
Brian J. Miller
Conservation Biology (No. 9)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2005
Online Publication Date:November 2009
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511614774.014
Subjects: Ecology and conservation
In 1999 the US Fish and Wildlife Service recommended designating the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) as warranted for listing as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act, but precluded from such listing by other, higher priority species (US Fish and Wildlife Service 1999). This ‘warranted, but precluded’ finding flamed a management controversy that had been brewing for years and instigated a flurry of activity by agricultural interests, government agencies, conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs), scientists and others. Stakeholders became polarized between those who want to conserve prairie dogs and those who want to limit them. Although ecologists have noted for decades the huge decline of black-tailed prairie dogs, as recently as 10–15 years ago the status of prairie dogs and their management was largely neglected and therefore not controversial. How did this issue move to the forefront of conservation controversies in this country? In this chapter we use a policy sciences approach (Lasswell and McDougal 1992) to describe and analyse the controversy surrounding prairie dog conservation and management by examining the context of the issue, the key stakeholders, and the processes being used to understand and address the problem. We end with recommendations to improve prospects for black-tailed prairie dog recovery and conservation.
THE CONTEXT OF PRAIRIE DOG CONSERVATION: ORIENTING TO THE ‘PROBLEM’
Fully understanding the challenge of black-tailed prairie dog recovery requires a comprehensive assessment of the context.