Due to habitat loss, many black-tailed prairie dogs choose to migrate to other populations. Resources such as space and nutrients were low because of farming, and some prairie dogs didn't survive or left, causing a decrease in the population.
In southwestern Kansas, some prairie dog populations are increasing due to habitat restoration and increased rainfall over the past few years. Other prairie dogs are moving to these communities because of the abundance of resources now available.
In the above-stated southwestern colonies, researchers have observed an increase in births due to the increased resources and population.
In the northern colonies, several populations have become extinct because of an outbreak of the plague. While this decreased the population size, neighboring communities have benefited from the newly available resources.
In the beginning, prairie dog populations grew slowly due to poisonings to limit competition with livestock. But as the poisoning stopped, the population shot up and is now leveling out as the population reaches the carrying capacity of their area. Carrying capacity is the maximum amount of individuals an environment can support.
Logistical Growth of Prairie Dog Populations
Two density-dependent factors that affect the species are the plague, and resource availability or lack of (specifically food). The plague and food shortage are biotic factors, their impact limited by the population size.
Drought and habitat disruption are density-independent factors. These are both abiotic factors that are not affected by the size of the population. The drought causes the prairie dogs to have limited resources. Habitat disruption due to farming leaves them without shelter.