Utah Prairie Dogs are considered “keystone species” that perform a variety of important ecological functions including soil aeration which helps plants grow, providing prey for other animals, and maintaining healthy meadow ecosystems. The Utah Prairie Dog has been federally listed under the Endangered Species Act since 1973 and is protected as a threatened species.
Bryce Canyon National Park reintroduced the Utah Prairie Dog to park meadows from 1974 through 1988 and is the only National Park Service unit where they occur. Today, approximately 200 Utah Prairie Dogs are found within several meadow complexes within the Park. Every year these colonies are monitored and counted to track the health of the animals and their habitat.