The fate of that symbol of the plains states, the prairie dog, still hangs in the balance (see "Open Season on Varmints," cover story, July/August 2004). Last August the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) removed the black-tailed prairie dog from the Endangered Species Act official candidate list, where it had sat awaiting funds for protection. The removal occurred under pressure from former South Dakota U.S. Senator Tom Daschle (D) and his successor, John Thune (R). At the same time, South Dakota announced plans for a massive prairie dog poisoning effort.