The Issue: Prairie Dogs Threatened by Sylvatic Plague
Black-tailed prairie dogs have an importance far beyond their size. They are a keystone species, providing essential food, shelter, and nest sites for more than 150 species, including black-footed ferrets, burrowing owls, and mountain plovers. Without them, these populations could decline or disappear, dramatically injuring the once-thriving prairie ecosystem. But today this keystone species faces extinction from many threats: human interference, the loss of habitats, and the sylvatic plague—a non-native, lethal bacterium transmitted by fleas. To protect the prairie dogs and their eco-system, organizations such as World Wildlife Fund are working to conserve prairie-dog colonies by controlling plague-infected fleas with Delta Dust powder.
The Campaign: Protecting Prairie Dogs from Plague
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by World Wildlife Fund to protect prairie dogs from plague-carrying fleas. For every $5 raised, World Wildlife Fund can apply deltamethrin dust ("Delta Dust") in prairie-dog burrows to protect 1/5 of an acre of habitat — or approximately five black-tailed prairie dogs — from fleas carrying the lethal sylvatic plague. Each acre coated protects approximately 25 black-tailed prairie dogs from an outbreak. World Wildlife Fund aims to raise $12,500 to protect 500 acres (about 12,500 black-tailed prairie dogs) on the American Prairie Reserve this summer. Each subsequent $12,500 raised will protect another 500 acres on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation and the Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana.
Conservation crews traverse entire prairie-dog colonies, dispending four ounces of Delta Dust inside each burrow. In addition to controlling the invasive bacterium, these efforts will help to restore the populations reliant on black-tailed prairie dogs, such as the endangered black-footed ferret.
World Wildlife Fund
For half a century, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has worked to protect the planet's natural environment and promote eco-friendly living. WWF has set a goal to conserve 15 world's most ecologically-important regions by the year 2020. The organization aims to achieve these goals in part by focusing its work on priority places—such as the Amazon, Coral Triangle, and Himalayas—and species—such as tigers, rhinos, and marine turtles. Its projects are rooted in science and extensive research, and five million WWF members around the world help enact them for the benefit of both humanity and the planet.