Sonja and I spent the morning up in Flagstaff so she could show me some of the prairie dog towns she'll be studying this summer. It was the closest I've ever been to p-dogs, and I must say they are quite charismatic. Sonja's going to have a blast this summer with her behavioral observations. She's beginning work on her thesis, "Behavioral Responses to Predator Stimuli in Urban vs. Rural Gunnison's Prairie Dog Colonies" (we call it the "Ninja Report" for short), this month and should be spending several days a week with these colonies throughout the summer.
Later this summer I'll get to be a subject in Sonja's study as I walk Luna through some of the colonies so she can measure the p-dogs' responses to us. But for right now she's just trying to find enough colonies for her study. For such a prolific rodent, they seem particularly susceptible to dying. The badgers, coyotes and plague do enough damage for this deserves-to-be-listed-as-threatened species. Throw in the poisoning, bulldozing and target-practice that moronic rednecks inflict upon these guys (all quite legally, by the way) and it's a wonder any are left at all.