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Estimated areal extent of colonies of black-tailed prairie dogs in the northern Great Plains

Journal of Mammalogy

By:
, , and
DOI:10.1644/1545-1542(2001)082<0928:EAEOCO>2.0.CO;2

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Abstract

During 1997–1998, we undertook an aerial survey, with an aerial line-intercept technique, to estimate the extent of colonies of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) in the northern Great Plains states of Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. We stratified the survey based on knowledge of colony locations, computed 2 types of estimates for each stratum, and combined ratio estimates for high-density strata with average density estimates for low-density strata. Estimates of colony areas for black-tailed prairie dogs were derived from the average percentages of lines intercepting prairie dog colonies and ratio estimators. We selected the best estimator based on the correlation between length of transect line and length of intercepted colonies. Active colonies of black-tailed prairie dogs occupied 2,377.8 km2 ± 186.4 SE, whereas inactive colonies occupied 560.4 ± 89.2 km2. These data represent the 1st quantitative assessment of black-tailed prairie dog colonies in the northern Great Plains. The survey dispels popular notions that millions of hectares of colonies of black-tailed prairie dogs exist in the northern Great Plains and can form the basis for future survey efforts.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Estimated areal extent of colonies of black-tailed prairie dogs in the northern Great Plains
Series title:
Journal of Mammalogy
DOI:
10.1644/1545-1542(2001)082<0928:EAEOCO>2.0.CO;2
Volume:
82
Issue:
4
Year Published:
2001
Language:
English
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Contributing office(s):
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description:
9 p.
First page:
928
Last page:
936