Alberta Development Partners, the group behind the construction of the new Promenade at Castle Rock, announced March 20 it has agreed to relocate the 75-100 prairie dogs still on the site.
The colony at the development site, located between …
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The colony at the development site, located between Interstate 25 and U.S. Highway 85 near the Outlets at Castle Rock, had numbered more than 1,000. The majority were removed the week of March 9. Numerous eyewitness reports from residents and activists indicated that poison was used.
“About 75 to 100 prairie dogs are in the process of being captured and humanely relocated from the site by wildlife experts operating under a permit from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, to excellent prairie dog habitat on private land owned by a generous conservationist,” Alberta said in a statement.
Alberta also plans to support the relocation of several hundred additional prairie dogs this summer, from other threatened habitats in Castle Rock on land that it does not own.
“We want to be a good neighbor and this is one way of addressing a community concern,” Alberta's statement reads.
According to Deanna Meyer of the group Save the Castle Rock Prairie Dogs, the surviving animals will be relocated to property in New Mexico.
“They were strong-armed into this by the reaction and backlash to what they did,” she said.
Meyer said the relocation was part of a deal that resulted in the dropping of a lawsuit by activists against Alberta's development of the promenade.
According to Meyer, the agreement also provides for the care of burrowing owls and payment of the group's legal expenses.
The relocation will not stop the town petition for a referendum being circulated by residents who wish to stop the construction of the mall — which Meyer describes as “their biggest fear right now.”
She said Alberta tried to stop the petition as part of the deal but they refused.
“This is not a happy thing for me,” Meyer said. “We lost thousands of lives.”
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