Extreme weather takes its toll at Madison zoo

Published: May. 9, 2019 at 6:47 PM CDT
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The Henry Vilas Zoo is without a prairie dog exhibit after some unfortunately didn't make it through the winter.

The zoo told NBC15 that with the historic flooding this past summer and fall the water table rose, which restricts how far the prairie dogs can burrow in the ground to keep warm.

The zoo said they are working to create a new prairie dog exhibit that is resilient during extreme weather conditions.

"This is something that we really want to continue to have at the zoo,” said conservation education curator, Jess Thompson. “It's a really important species to us and so as we look forward into what this might look like we have actually removed our current prairie dog exhibit knowing that it is not going to hold up to our future climate, and instead decided to expand the space for our bison so they have a bigger yard."

The prairie dogs that did survive have been moved to a different home until the new exhibit is built.