Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

April 1987


The subject of prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) overpopulation is complex, and judgements of overpopulation may not be based on prairie dog population size or density. Caughley's (1981) model of animal overpopulation is applied here to prairie dogs to clarify the basis for a judgement of overpopulation in each of several cases. There are ecological components to all such cases, but a purely ecological judgement of overpopulation requires much more information than is currently available. However, defensible management of prairie dog systems is a goal, and time-honored but flawed assumptions are never an adequate substitute for results derived from thorough, scientific studies of prairie dog systems as a basis for management actions.