Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Vinson Massif, Antarctica
It's a complicated issue, and you're right... most of us generally disagree with keeping animals taken from the wild. There is a different side to it though. Prairie dogs are at a mere fraction of their historic wild range. They are being eradicated by the thousands every year by many land owners who consider them to be pests. Even public lands are culling prairie dog populations so they don't become a nuisance species, or to clear land for development. Only a small fraction of those prairie dogs ever find their way into the pet trade, but it's highly likely that many of the pups would be killed anyway, if they were left in the wild.
On top of that, prairie dogs do not breed readily in captivity. It has been done, captive bred pups are available if you hunt hard enough - but it is definitely not common place like it is with mice, rats, guinea pigs, or other rodents found in the pet trade. This obviously makes wild caught ones much cheaper and easier to find. When pet shops go looking for live animal stock, they are more likely to go for the cheaper option.
There's no easy answer, but I know I certainly wouldn't give up my guys - regardless of their origins.
She sits in her corner, singing herself to sleep.
Wrapped in all of the promises, that no one seems to keep.