Citizen knowledge of and attitudes toward black-tailed prairie dogs: Completion report

Open-File Report 2001-471

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In the late summer of 2000, we canvassed a random sample of residents in the 11-sate short grass prairie region of the United States. We asked about people's attitude toward and knowledge of black-tailed prairie dogs and their management. The survey received 1,933 useable responses with a response rate of 56.4% (margin of error ±2.2%).

We developed a questionnaire (OMB Control Number: 1028-0073; see Appendix B) to answer the following questions:

  • What is the level of citizen knowledge regarding black-tailed prairie dogs?
  • What are citizens' attitudes and preferences regarding black-tailed prairie dogs and the environment in general?
  • What are the factors that explain difference in attitudes and knowledge about prairie dogs?
  • What are the factors that explain citizen participation in these types of issues?
  • What are the important differences between rural and urban citizens regarding their political participation and their knowledge and attitude about prairie dogs?

In general, we found that citizens do not have a high regard for black-tailed prairie dogs. Citizens generally have a positive orientation towards the environment and favor a balanced or somewhat environmental approach on questions - like prairie dog management - that involve environmental protection and economic considerations. People having direct experience with prairie dogs are less inclined to view them as beneficial to society than are those who infrequently see or come in contact with the animals. When asked about prairie dogs specifically, most citizens did not believe the question of what to do about these animals was a highly important environmental issue.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Citizen knowledge of and attitudes toward black-tailed prairie dogs: Completion report
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Fort Collins Science Center
viii, 53 p.