What was once a trio of prairie dogs at Mary E Lee Park in San Angelo has grown to what city officials say is about 500.
The colony of prairie dogs was established over 4 or 5 years ago and has led to a number of holes being burrowed in the area–presenting a safety hazard for park-goers.
The growing prairie dog population may also lead the current colonies to venture onto private property, which is the last thing Parks and Recreation Director, Carl White, wants.
He says the city is working on ways to solve the issue, one of which is to possibly relocate the critters. Another is to maybe build a Prairie Dog Town at Mary E Lee Park, similar to the one in Lubbock.
The cost for the smallest possible version of this project, however, would be at least $50,000–an amount the city is unable to cover at this time.
“One idea is to do nothing. There’s no way of knowing if they’ll surpass the area of the park,” White says. “They haven’t crossed over Knickerbocker road which is a fairly busy road.”
The initial prairie dog family at the park lived in the Nature Center and were brought in thanks to the Abilene Zoo.
White says the city and the Nature Center’s director at the time were under the impression the prairie dog family from Abilene had been neutered.
The colony living in the Nature Center would eventually dig their way out of the Nature Center and make Mary E Lee Park their home.
White says the city will hopefully have a solution by next spring.
Kat Bunker–a representative with the Nature Center–says she believes the city will come to a peaceful resolution regarding the prairie dog population.
Parks and Recreation Advisory Board members will discuss the issue after more research is completed for next month’s meeting.