Thursday, June 25, 2009

More from the Parade of Human Folly

Okay, I know this is an obsession of mine and I go way overboard with it, but here goes. I am here in South Dakota, and I see this front page article in the Argus Leader: Wis. Town Mourns Loss: Victims Were Headed to S. D. to Hunt Prairie Dogs." I was startled -- not so much by the crash itself, as that is a more or less regular tragedy nowadays. It was to realize that three guys would go all the way from Wisconsin to South Dakota to "hunt" prairie dogs. That's taking into consideration what hunting prairie dogs means: 1) Sitting in front of a prairie dog town in which the prairie dogs (Cynomis ludovicianus) must leave their burrows or starve, 2) blowing their little heads off with a high-powered rifle and scope when they do, and 3) leaving their bodies to rot uselessly in the prairie sun.* They were doing this at the same time that I was coming here to watch prairie dogs through binoculars and telescope whilst sipping iced drinks and catching up on my reading. I just hope they weren't planning on killing the same animals that I was watching.

May these poor lost souls rest in peace.
______________________________
* As near as I can tell, humans do not eat Cynomis species. A search for "prairie dog recipies" turned up only foods to feed to your pet prairie dogs. Yes, people do keep them as pets. One owner has emailed me to say that they are intelligent and affectionate.

In the picture above (click to enlarge), the white mounds in the grass are prairie dog burrows.

5 comments:

N. Hunt said...

I think my word choice would have been a little different than "poor lost souls."

Here's a youtube video of someone and their pet Prarie Dog, Scamp. It's pretty adorable. In the description, she describes some disgusting thing the government did regarding prairie dogs followed by, "LAAAAAME!"

Lester Hunt said...

N.,

Somehow your link did not come through.

N. Hunt said...

Ok, I'm trying again http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHNlCMj28bY

Lester Hunt said...

N.,

That is so cute! One thing we can see here is that PDs are not very good at climbing or jumping.

Lester Hunt said...

P.S. That government action she refers to is the federal ban on the sale, barter, etc. of prairie dogs that was imposed in 2003 as a result of a few cases of humans catching some disease from them. I just noticed, searching the web, that the ban was lifted in 2008.

That's good news! Private ownership is one of the best ways to save a wild animal from extinction/endangerment. Private collectors played a big role in saving the American bison from extinction in the 19th century. While the feds were neglecting the few herds left alive on federal lands, people like William F. Cody were taking good care of theirs -- because these animals were their own property!