Prairie dogs take over baseball fields, temporarily force closure

New Mexico

Correction posted below.

BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – A local baseball complex is closed until further notice due to hundreds of prairie dogs that have invaded the outfields.

“They kinda come and go. This has been a problem for a number of years,” said Belen Mayor Jerah Cordova.

The two baseball fields at Eagle Park in Belen are currently locked up and completely covered in prairie dogs holes.”Now, we’ve got a ton of them in the outfield digging holes and causing tripping hazards,” said Cordova.

Cordova says to his knowledge, no one was hurt on the fields, but they closed them as a precaution until they can remove the prairie dogs and repair the damage.

Though, the problem stretches beyond the holes. The prairie dogs are digging up more problems than you might think. “We also built these fields back then on top of what was a glass dump, so when the gophers get into the ground and start burrowing they start kicking up some of that glass. That becomes another hazard,” said Cordova.

Cordova says they are hoping to have everything picked up and the prairie dogs safely removed in about two months.”It’s hard to remove them in a safe manner. We want to make sure we’re not doing any harm to them as we get them out of the fields,” said Cordova.

Usually, little league teams practice on these fields. Cordova says they have other fields in town now available to them.

Correction: In KRQE News 13’s original broadcast of this story, the prairie dogs were incorrectly identified as gophers. The text has been corrected and News 13 regrets the error.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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