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Feds say white-tailed prairie dogs not endangered

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May 27, 2010 04:39 PM EST | AP


DENVER — The high-altitude cousin of the black-tailed prairie dog has also been denied federal protection.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced Thursday that the white-tailed prairie dog does not merit protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The agency reached the same conclusion in December for the species' better-known cousin, the black-tailed prairie dog that dwells on the prairie and is a nuisance to most farmers and ranchers. The white-tailed prairie dog is found at altitudes above 5,000 feet in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Montana.

Federal wildlife authorities say the white-tailed prairie dog population "has not substantially changed" and that the critter doesn't face significant threat from urbanization or energy development.