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ABIOTIC HABITAT CORRELATES OF GUNNISON'S PRAIRIE DOG DAVID M.WAGNER,1 Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Box 5640, Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5640, USA
 

Summary: ABIOTIC HABITAT CORRELATES OF GUNNISON'S PRAIRIE DOG
IN ARIZONA
DAVID M.WAGNER,1 Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Box 5640, Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5640, USA
LEE C. DRICKAMER, Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Box 5640, Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5640, USA
Abstract: Prairie dog (Cynomys spp.) populations have been reduced by 98% compared to historical levels because
of widespread poisoning, habitat loss, recreational shooting, and outbreaks of sylvatic plague (Yersinia pestis). Our
objectives were to identify habitat correlates of Gunnison's prairie dog (C. gunnisoni) colonies and to develop a pre-
dictive logistic regression model to identify potential reintroduction sites for this species. During 2000 and 2001,
we examined habitat features at 50 Gunnison's prairie dog colonies and 50 paired random sites in northern Ari-
zona, USA. When compared to random sites, Gunnison's prairie dog colonies had deeper soils, less variability in
slope, and less rock ground cover. Our results suggest the importance of deep soils for allowing Gunnison's prairie
dogs to establish hibernacula below the frost line. Our model allows prediction of the probability of Gunnison's
prairie dog presence at a site based on soil depth, standard deviation of slope, and surface rock cover, and should
aid managers in reestablishing this species throughout its historical range.
JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT 68(1):188-197
Key words: Arizona, Cynomys gunnisoni, grasslands, Gunnison's prairie dog, habitat, habitat correlates, slope, soil
depth, surface rocks.
188
Prairie dogs are burrow-dwelling, colonial
ground squirrels that inhabit grasslands of central

  

Source: Allan, Gery - Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology