Critical Habitat Designated for Endangered New Mexico Mouse
SANTA FE, N.M. - Federal officials have declared 14,000 acres of Western land as critical habitat to protect the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse.
The small mouse, which lives only in grasses along flowing streams, is native to parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.
But Jay Lininger, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, says the destruction of its habitat has made the jumping mouse the most precariously endangered mammal in the country.
"Current primary threats to the jumping mouse include livestock grazing and residential development along stream corridors," says Lininger. "As well as some post-fire flooding that's occurred over the last few years."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week it was initiating 12-month reviews for some other species, the Leoncita false-foxglove, Rio Grande chub, Rio Grande sucker and the Western bumblebee, for listing as 'endangered' in New Mexico and nearby states.
It will also review the Southwest willow flycatcher, now classified as endangered, for possible delisting, meaning it has recovered sufficiently to be removed from the list.
Lininger says human activities have made it difficult for the jumping mouse to thrive.
"We've done a pretty good job over the last 150 years or so, of transforming our watershed by removing functional riparian habitats, by channelizing streams, by eliminating floods, by suppressing fire," says Lininger.
Since 2005, populations of jumping mice have been located, with 15 in New Mexico, 12 in Arizona and only two in Colorado.
Lininger says significant numbers were likely compromised by post-fire flooding after a 2011 wildfire in Arizona's White Mountains.