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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Reintroducing prairie dogs in desert grasslands

Published source details

Truett J.C. & Savage T. (1998) Reintroducing prairie dogs in desert grasslands. Restoration & Management Notes, 16, 189-195


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide supplementary food during/after release of translocated mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated study in 1995–1997 in four grassland sites in New Mexico, USA (Truett & Savage 1998) found that translocated populations of black-tailed prairie dogs Cynomys ludovicianusi provided with supplementary food and kept in holding pens prior to release persisted at least two years after release and reproduced in the wild. The number of black-tailed prairie dogs approximately doubled during the first spring after release in one site on one ranch where supplementary food was provided. Between the second spring and summer, after supplementary feeding had ceased, the number of animals associated with both release sites on the same ranch doubled. Precise numbers are not reported. One hundred and one prairie dogs were translocated to two ranches (Armendaris Ranch received 71 individuals; Ladder Ranch: 30 individuals) between June 1995 and June 1997. At each ranch, prairie dogs were released into two 0.4-ha holding pens (number of individuals per holding pen is not provided). Holding pens were fenced and surrounded by electric wire. Animals at Armendaris ranch were provided with supplementary food in pens for several months up to a year. Information on population persistence at Ladder Ranch is not provided. The time individuals were kept in the holding pens before subsequent release varied between a few days, weeks and some weren’t released from them at all (see original paper for details).

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)

Use holding pens at release site prior to release of translocated mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated study in 1995–1997 in four grassland sites in New Mexico, USA (Truett & Savage 1998) found that after release from holding pens and provision of supplementary food, translocated populations of black-tailed prairie dogs Cynomys ludovicianusi persisted at least two years and reproduced in the wild. The number of black-tailed prairie dogs approximately doubled during the first spring after release from holding pens in one site on one ranch where supplementary food was provided. Between the second spring and summer, after all supplementary feeding had ceased, the number of animals associated with both release sites on the same ranch doubled. Precise numbers are not reported. One hundred and one prairie dogs were translocated to two ranches (Armendaris Ranch received 71 individuals; Ladder Ranch: 30 individuals) between June 1995 and June 1997. At each ranch, prairie dogs were released into two 0.4-ha holding pens (number of individuals/holding pen is not provided). Holding pens were fenced and surrounded by electric wire. Animals at Armendaris ranch were provided with supplementary food in pens for up to year. Information on population persistence at Ladder Ranch is not provided. The time individuals were kept in the holding pens before subsequent release varied between a few days and weeks (see original paper for details).

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)