The Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, MA announced on May 25th the arrival of 5 adorable Prairie dog pups. The zoo estimates they were born on April 1st. There is no way to know for sure when they were born as they do not leave the burrow for about 6 weeks, explaining why their birth was not announced until late May. At birth, Prairie dogs are completely helpless, immobile, blind, and hairless. The pups are doing well and are having a ton of fun exploring their exhibit. Guests can get an up close look at the babies through pop-up tubes of acrylic that take you right into the exhibit with the animals.
Prairie dogs live throughout the central and western plains of the United States. Though a least concern species, the Prairie dog is immensely important to the critically endangered Black-footed ferret (there are only around 300 left in the wild). Prairie dogs make up around 90% of the Black-footed ferrets’ diet and ferrets make their homes in the burrows of Prairie dogs. Sadly, Prairie dog populations are declining due to habitat loss, and because of this, ferret populations will begin to decline again. This is one of the many examples of why preserving and educating about least concern species is so important to our ecosystems and conservation as a whole. Great work, Franklin Park!