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PNS Daily Newscast - September 21, 2018 


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Endangered Mammal Gets Critical Habitat in Arizona

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designed almost 14,000 acres in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado as critical habitat as for the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse. (USFWS)
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designed almost 14,000 acres in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado as critical habitat as for the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse. (USFWS)
March 22, 2016

TUCSON, Ariz. - 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 only lives in grasses along flowing streams, is native to parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.

But Jay Lininger, a senior scientist at the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, says the destruction of its habitat has made the jumping mouse the most endangered mammal in the country.

"Current primary threats to the jumping mouse include livestock grazing and residential development along stream corridors, as well as some post-fire flooding that's occurred over the last few years," says Lininger.

In addition to its declaration on the jumping mouse, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week it was initiating 12-month reviews for the Leoncita false-foxglove and the Western bumblebee for possible listing as an endangered species in Arizona and nearby states.

The agency also declined to review petitions for endangered status for six other Arizona animal species.

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," he says.

Since 2005, 12 populations of jumping mice have been identified in Arizona, 15 in New Mexico and two in Colorado.

Lininger says significant numbers were likely compromised by post-fire flooding after a 2011 wildfire in Arizona's White Mountains.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AZ