Niabi Zoo’s African Prairie Dog campaign online auction ends on December 12th. View and bid on items at this website.

“The selection of items to choose from is impressive,” zoo director Lee Jackson said in a Thursday release. “This auction has something for everyone. We have wonderful products from some of our incredibly generous local vendors, as well as trips, sports memorabilia, electronics, fun experiences, and tons of great animal themed baskets and gifts. And all of it just in time for holiday shopping.”

Attempts to list Prairie Dogs as threatened or endangered through the Endangered Species Act has failed three times due to lobbying from special interest groups, according to Niabi Zoo.

All proceeds from the auction go directly to the Niabi Zoo Prairie Dog campaign. You can also make a donation on the Niabi website HERE.

“Zoo staff have been very busy over the last couple of months making plans for the arrival of this incredible species, but there is still much to do,” Jackson said Thursday. “We are counting on the continued generous support of this amazing community to help us bring these wonderful animals to the Quad Cities.”

The zoo site says that Prairie Dogs are keystone species that help North America prairies thrive. They live in large family groups called coteries that dig extensive burrow systems known as Prairie Dog towns, which provides good irrigation for the grasslands. As they eat prairie grasses, they also fertilize and disperse grass seeds, resulting in increased diversity of plants.

Niabi has already raised 2/3 of the $658,000 necessary to construct the all-new exhibit, which will include:

  • a species appropriate habitat complete with underground barriers to contain this burrowing species, large mounds, rockwork and native grasses.
  • public viewing areas including a sheltered space as well as clear wall so guests from the Zoo Train can see inside the exhibit.
  • educational displays to allow people to understand the plight facing this imperiled species and how they can help.