Will a University Kill Its Prairie Dogs?

September 25, 2015

Nearly 140,000 people have signed an online petition opposing a “Buddhist-inspired” university’s pursuit of permission to exterminate a community of prairie dogs living on one of its campuses. The petition’s web page features a picture of an adult and juvenile prairie dog and a caption underneath that reads, “Mommy, I heard Naropa University is going to have all of us killed.”

Naropa University, a private, nonprofit college in Boulder, Colo., did indeed apply for “a lethal control permit,” per local news site Daily Camera. But university officials said they have no plans yet to exterminate the 100 or so prairie dogs and were rather hoping the application process would help them find a place to relocate the animals.

"We were legitimately hoping that this would spur the community to help us identify some slots and I would say that we are deeply disappointed that despite making all these great efforts, not one option came forward," said Bill Rigler, a Naropa spokesman.

The fact that a lethal solution is even on the table, though, riled the nonprofit preservation group WildLands Defense, which sponsored the petition.

"It is a Buddhist university and the fact that a Buddhist university would even apply for a lethal application for prairie dogs is totally against any Buddhist concepts," Deanna Meyer, Colorado director for WildLands Defense, told Daily Camera. "You don't do that. You don't kill animals. So that inspired a lot of people, like, 'Are you kidding me? A Buddhist university is going to kill the native populations there? Why?'"

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