GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - The decision on what to do with prairie dogs is always a debate between land owners and animal rights activists.
That’s why when one front range woman heard about several colonies of prairie dogs in Grand Junction, that were going to be exterminated, she traveled to the Grand Valley to relocate them.
After getting all the needed permits, setting traps has been a long process.
“When you’re trapping, you just keep at it, and you go sun rise to sun set,” said Sandy Nervig, of Growing Ideas, who is relocating the prairie dogs.
Even though she is not catching many zzzz’s, she is catching one thing in particular.
“Every single last prairie dog we have left, we should try and save,” said Nervig.
Nervig started receiving calls about multiple white tailed prairie dog colonies, that were going to be poisoned. One of those locations was at Juniper Ridge Community School.
“Everyone wanted something different to happen for them,” said Laura Carter, the Garden Educator at Juniper Ridge Community School.
Once she got those calls she drove more than four hours, straight to the Grand Valley to relocate them, all to the joy of many.
“This morning I got to tell the staff, and everyone just suddenly had huge smiles on their faces,” said Carter.
The prairie dogs were relocated to Bureau of Land Management lands, 45 minutes outside of Grand Junction. However, while Nervig and her volunteers saved these colonies, the concern remains for others.
“The prairie dogs can’t keep up, their numbers can’t keep up with the amount of killing that is going on,” said Nervig.
Nervig says land development, and the misconception that prairie dogs carry the plague, when it’s actually fleas that do so, are the main reasons they are killed.
Nervig will head back to the front range, but she expects to be back soon to continue to fight an ongoing battle.
“For whatever reason people want them gone, my counter to that is that there is always a humane, non lethal alternative,” said Nervig.
Nervig and the other volunteers are doing these relocations at no cost, so if you’re interested in donating to their cause, visit their Go Fund Me page at gofundme.com/help-relocate-our-colonies