Question about Capture of Prairie Dogs for Pets? - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2010, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Question about Capture of Prairie Dogs for Pets?

Hi all,
I am usually on another pet forum but I was fascniated when I saw this forum for pet Prairie Dogs. I think they are completely adorable and I have always loved seeing pictures of them and so forth, so I took a peek onto this forum as I was amazed that they are kept as pets.

The question I had is, when I researched how they end up being pets, I found out they are captured in the wild from their dens, most often as pups, for selling as pets. This really upset me as I could not believe people would be willing to have them as pets, knowing they were not bred in captivity, such as rats, mice, and other pets, but captured and taken from their homes in the wild for use as pets.

Can someone please educate me as to why this would be considered even slightly acceptable for people to consider having a pet that they know was taken from the wild? It seems very inhumane and immoral, but maybe there is something to this that I do not understand yet. Any thoughts? I would just personally not be able to enjoy a pet knowing it was caught in the wild and sold for my personal enjoyment.
Thanks for any commments.

Vlad

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2010, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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P.S. on my post...no disrespect intended at all from my post. I am genuinely open to being educated on this topic and I only care about the well being and happiness of animals.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2010, 11:44 PM
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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.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-20-2010, 04:14 AM Thread Starter
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Ravnos, thank you so much for replying to my post, I really appreciate it. I saw that there were 27 views and you were the only one so far who bothered to address my questions, so, thank you again. I am not really surprised that most prairie dog owners did not want to address this. I appreciate your comments and it helps me to understand this issue a bit better.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 01:04 PM
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Great answer, Ravnos.
Yes, this is never an easy answer. My preference would be that they live wild, free, and undisturbed in their natural setting as intended. That is not realistic. There are some very immoral people that capture them from places where there is no threat and only do so to make money and profit from them in the pet trade. Then there are others that perform safe and humane relocation of them, moving them from one spot in the wild that is set to be bulldozed and developed, to an area that is protected.

Sometimes numbers being relocated are thinned because a relocation site only has the capacity or a certain population or they will all die from starvation from lack of resources to sustain them. Often pups are the best choice to take when thinning out a relocation site. Relocation sites are in short supply due to continual development and most people don't understand that not all sites are suitable to what prairie dogs need to survive and thrive. Having them live on as pets is better than the fate they could meet being bulldozed, poisoned, shot, or worse. It is definitely a hard topic.

Many face wonderful long lives in captive settings with the right owners, some living twice their wild life span. Some debate that they end up in the wrong hands, but that same argument holds for all species, including humans. Thankfully, while there are limited numbers of prairie dog rescues in the US, they are few and far between when compared with rescues of other species. Most people do a bit more homework before getting them as a pet, but the numbers in rescue are low when looked at nationwide.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 03:24 PM
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Please be careful when responding. This post was last talked about in October of last year

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And the rest:
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Jester, cat
Waffles, dog
Gunny, ferret

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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Christine,
No, that was fine that someone added to this post. I was the one who asked this question last October and it was nice to get another reply and perspective on the topic. I originally only had one reply so it was nice to see the new one. Thanks Gena.

Vlad

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 04:13 PM
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Oh sorry. Sometimes people ask a question and leave so still trying to figure out which posts are relevant and which are just people bringing up their number

Christine
Mommy to:
2 cats: Suess and Jezebel
2 horses: Winter and Junior
3 dogs: Panda, Maggie, Snoopy

And the rest:
5 cows, a bull and one mean buffalo

Gone but not forgotten:
Jester, cat
Waffles, dog
Gunny, ferret

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 11:32 AM
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Hi Christine,

I'm very confused about how this forum works and don't have a lot of time on here myself, what do you mean bringing up their number? Many times I don't see post responses because it goes to spam for whatever reason. I was simply answering a question that I have a lot of experience with because it concerns my full time work. =) Just trying to help people.

Is there a rule about what is discussed and answered or something? Please let me know. Thanks!

Gena Seaberg, PhD
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Gena,
Maybe Christine will answer your post but I at least wanted to say it was nice to get another response from someone about this issue and I appreciated getting to read your thoughts. Just my two cents worth.

Vlad

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 01:37 PM
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No there's no rule but sometimes the post is old and has been dropped and new members not realizing bring it up. It happens to everyone but if you look above the avatar you can see the date that the last post was. Most of the time when newbies bring up old post the orignal poster has left. I'm just trying to keep it more active and not have old posts. Not my job or anything but it helps keep things interesting. Sorry I didn't realize that the member was still here and expecting responses.
When I say bring up their number i mean number of posts. After so many more privilages get unlocked and sometimes simple responses are everywhere until the members can do what they want and have enough posts. I hope that clears it up. If you have any questions please feel free to message me. I'll help you the best I can. Sorry to sabatoge the post.

Christine
Mommy to:
2 cats: Suess and Jezebel
2 horses: Winter and Junior
3 dogs: Panda, Maggie, Snoopy

And the rest:
5 cows, a bull and one mean buffalo

Gone but not forgotten:
Jester, cat
Waffles, dog
Gunny, ferret

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gena Seaberg View Post
Great answer, Ravnos.
-snip- There are some very immoral people that capture them from places where there is no threat and only do so to make money and profit from them in the pet trade. Then there are others that perform safe and humane relocation of them, moving them from one spot in the wild that is set to be bulldozed and developed, to an area that is protected.

Sometimes numbers being relocated are thinned because a relocation site only has the capacity or a certain population or they will all die from starvation from lack of resources to sustain them. Often pups are the best choice to take when thinning out a relocation site. Relocation sites are in short supply due to continual development and most people don't understand that not all sites are suitable to what prairie dogs need to survive and thrive. Having them live on as pets is better than the fate they could meet being bulldozed, poisoned, shot, or worse. It is definitely a hard topic.

Many face wonderful long lives in captive settings with the right owners, some living twice their wild life span. Some debate that they end up in the wrong hands, but that same argument holds for all species, including humans. Thankfully, while there are limited numbers of prairie dog rescues in the US, they are few and far between when compared with rescues of other species. Most people do a bit more homework before getting them as a pet, but the numbers in rescue are low when looked at nationwide.
This is an interesting post.

I've worked with with environmental assessment and modification for the purpose of increasing wildlife habitat. Mostly I've seen it done for endangered species. I've never heard of anyone doing it for prairie dog relocation. (But then, there's lots of things I never hear about!)

I'd be curious how they are permitted, what methods they use, how they assess potential habitat sites, etc. and what states they work out of.

Do you have more information on them?

Thanks,
Bob



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