Prairie dogs were once abundant across the plains and grasslands of the Western half of the United States. Four of the five subspecies are found in the United States and have lost 98% of their historical abundance since 1870 due to extermination campaigns, habitat loss, and plague. This species is threatened by extinction and already extirpated across most of its range and yet given very little federal or state protection, except for the Utah prairie dog. This leaves most conservation efforts to grassroots and non-profit conservation organizations. This paper looks at the framework used by conservation organizations within conservation campaigns to communicate the need for prairie dog conservation efforts. Thirty-six organizations were found and six frames were identified. The most common frames emphasized prairie dogs’ role as a keystone species and addressed concerns surrounding cattle ranching and prairie dogs and plague transmission. Other frames were used occasionally and showcase underutilization of a wider variety of targeted frames. This paper is the first of its kind to analyze how prairie dog conservation is being communicated through framing theory. This field is under-researched and has the potential to grow and be helpful to future campaigns as they develop communication strategies and create partnerships with other like-minded organizations.
Included in this item (2)
- Framing Conservation: American Prairie Dogs