State officials have banned all trapping and relocation of prairie dogs in an effort to help stop the spread of monkeypox. There have been no suspected or confirmed cases of the disease in Colorado, but the ban puts the state in compliance with a federal order.
Monkeypox is a rare and sometimes fatal virus related to smallpox. Federal officials say about 20 people have contracted the disease in the Midwest from handling infected prairie dog pets.
A three-person team from Boulder County has been trapping prairie dogs, then gassing them with carbon dioxide because few places are willing to accept the animals. The prairie dogs have been given to a bird sanctuary near Louisville as food.