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Larry and Bette Haverfield on their ranch near the defunct town of Russell Springs, Kansas.  The Haverfields have been embroiled in a long-running war over the presence of prairie dogs on their ranch.  The Haverfields assert, correctly, that the prairie dogs contribute to increased biodiversity on their property, enabling them to graze their cattle in a fashion that mimics the movement and grazing patterns of pre-settlement buffalo through their range.  The county, particularly county commissioner Carl Ulrich, contend that prairie dogs are a nuisance and should be eradicated.  Many of the haverfields' neighbors feel the same way.  In recent years, the county has exterminated prairie dogs from the Haverfield property using a number of methods, including gas and poison, before sending the Haverfields the bill.  The Haverfields have discovered a number of 'secondary kill' animals, carcasses of birds and mammals that have eaten the poisoned prairie dogs and subsequently been killed themselves.  Complicating matters, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has recently re-introduced endangered black footed ferrets onto the land, a natural predator of the prairie dogs.  This move has heightened tensions between neighbors and led to a series of legal maneuvers on both sides to control the spread of the prairie dogs as well as the ferrets.
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Larry and Bette Haverfield on their ranch near the defunct town of Russell Springs, Kansas. The Haverfields have been embroiled in a long-running war over the presence of prairie dogs on their ranch. The Haverfields assert, correctly, that the prairie dogs contribute to increased biodiversity on their property, enabling them to graze their cattle in a fashion that mimics the movement and grazing patterns of pre-settlement buffalo through their range. The county, particularly county...
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  • Copyright Matthew B. Slaby
  • Location: Russell Springs Kansas
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  • Author: Matt Slaby
  • Byline: Luceo Images
  • PhotoShelter ID: I0000tOUfn9W7ldM

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