Prairie Dogs Lead to Birds Lead to Coyotes Lead to Plane Problems
An effort to exterminate prairie dogs at the Albuquerque International Sunport in New Mexico will be stepped up, with continued threats by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to shut down the airport because of ongoing problems with prairie dogs. Prairie dogs attract birds of prey, and officials are worried about a bird and plane colliding, causing a crash. Coyotes also feed on prairie dogs. Since 2006, planes have struck 10 coyotes with their landing gear. The city will contract with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to get rid of prairie dogs using nerve gas. City officials said the USDA will also have the authority to shoot coyotes. The FAA has told the city it will be doing surprise inspections. The extermination measures are about keeping the public safe, officials said, noting efforts to relocate animals using traps simply were not working.