Activists have gathered more than 135,000 signatures asking Naropa University not to kill about 100 prairie dogs on the school's east Boulder campus.
Naropa applied for a lethal control permit through the city of Boulder this summer for the burrowing rodents.
"The reality is Naropa has spent 4 years and nearly $100,000 to find a viable relocation site which is in Boulder and the surrounding area to move these prairie dogs," said Naropa spokesman Bill Rigler.
A spokeswoman for a wildlife advocacy group said the Buddhist university should not even be applying for a lethal application for prairie dogs because it is against Buddhist principles.
A spokesperson for the petition website echoed that sentiment.
"We know they are unique to the landscape. They make things challenging, but they are critical to the ecosystem," said Aaron Viles with Care2.
University administrators said that they have no plans to kill the prairie dogs and have been working for the last four years to identify a possible relocation site. The university even has a website asking for suggestions about how to relocate the animals.
Supporters want Naropa to take extermination off the table entirely.
"It's really unfair and not true how they are portraying Naropa," said Rigler.