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Translocation Effects on the Behavior of Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus)
  • John P. Farrar, University of Colorado
  • Karin L. Coleman, University of Colorado
  • Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado
  • Eric Stone, University of Colorado
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We examined the effects of translocation on Black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) anti-predator behavior by recording response distances and response times to a human intruder in three colonies containing native, translocated, and combined native and translocated prairie dogs. The translocated prairie dogs barked alarms and concealed themselves at significantly greater intruder distances than mixed or native colonies. However, individuals in different colonies did not differ in the time taken to return to a burrow, to conceal themselves after a human approached the colony, or in the time elapsed after concealment until an animal reappeared. Translocated prairie dogs exhibited nearly twice the distance sensitivity to intrusion as native prairie dogs. Increased sensitivity to disturbance complicates management considerations of translocated populations that are subject to human traffic. This increase in sensitivity may necessitate translocation to isolated or undisturbed sites, protecting sites from disturbance, translocating larger groups of prairie dogs, or all three in order for translocated populations to persist.

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Citation Information
Farrar, J. P., Coleman, K. L., Bekoff, M., & Stone, E. (1998). Translocation effects on the behavior of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). Anthrozoös, 11(3), 164-167.