An Extra-Limital Population of Black-tailed Prairie Dogs, Cynomys ludovicianus, in Central Alberta

Helen E. Trefry, Geoffrey L. Holroyd


An introduced population of Black-tailed Prairie Dogs, Cynomys ludovicianus, has persisted for the past 50 years east of Edmonton, Alberta, over 600 km northwest of the natural prairie range of the species. This colony has slowly expanded at this northern latitude within a transition ecotone between the Boreal Plains ecozone and the Prairies ecozone. Although this colony is derived from escaped animals, it is worth documenting, as it represents a significant disjunct range extension for the species and it is separated from the sylvatic plague (Yersina pestis) that threatens southern populations. The unique northern location of these Black-tailed Prairie Dogs makes them valuable for the study of adaptability and geographic variation, with implications for climate change impacts on the species, which is threatened in Canada.


Black-tailed Prairie Dog; Cynomys ludovicianus; extra-limital occurrence; Alberta

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