Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Black-footed ferrets are often seen as pests by ranchers. The tunnel systems that are used by ferrets and prairie dogs cause holes in the the earth in the grazing lands of cattle. Unfortunate livestock sometimes step into these holes and become lame, after which they must be destroyed.
The above should be changed to the correct information - The ranchers fear that livestock will step in prairie dog holes and break their legs. In reality, however, there are no known cases of any cattle ever being injured by a prairie dog burrow. According to these websites http://www.conservenature.org/prairie/prairie_dog.htm "Conservation of prairie dogs is of great importance to the prairie ecosystem. These animals were largely exterminated by farmers who killed the prairie dogs because they worried their cattle would break legs by stepping in the burrows. In reality, however, there are no known cases of any cattle ever being injured by a prairie dog burrow." http://www.humanesociety.org/news/news/2009/12/prairie_dog_coalition.html "Most of the prairie dog’s habitat is on national grasslands, and ranchers who hold leases to graze cattle on those lands are often concerned that cattle will step into a prairie dog hole and break a leg. Sterling-Krank said if ranchers move cattle from one location to another more slowly, instead of driving them at high speeds, they won’t step in prairie dog holes. The holes are raised mounds that provide protection against flooding as well as a perch from which the animals can view their surroundings for security purposes. Cows naturally step around holes, rocks, and other impediments. “Prairie dogs and bison co existed for thousands of years before we intervened,” she said."