A controversial mouse is still in trouble in Colorado

The Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse has been removed from protected status in Wyoming, but not Colorado, according to an article in The Denver Post.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service decision to protect the mouse’s habitat, and its status as a protected species, has drawn fire from many sources, but according to  Sylvia Fallon, staff scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in Washington, D.C., "The science is settled. The mouse is unique and in trouble, and losing protections in Wyoming is a tremendous setback to its recovery."

The anxiously awaited decision causes no change to Colorado law but will open up some areas of Wyoming for further development.

According to a press release on Native Ecosystems, applying political boundaries to habitats that stretch across vast areas makes no sense.

"Wildlife gets protected under the Endangered Species Act because it is disappearing across a major part of its range," said Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist with Biodiversity Conservation Alliance in Laramie, Wyo., "and the law wisely requires that all remaining populations and their critical habitat are protected. Leaving the best remaining habitats in Wyoming unprotected based on politics while the jumping mouse flirts with extinction in Colorado flies in the face of common sense, and violates the law."

"In official peer reviews of the proposal finalized today, scientists sharply criticized the Service for failing to rely on credible science. For example, Dr. Thomas Nupp wrote, ‘It seems illogical that the threats to the subspecies would change substantially at the state line between Wyoming and Colorado … doesn’t it make sense to preserve habitat that is not [imminently] threatened with destruction? … It seems to be chasing one’s tail to place a degrading habitat under regulatory protection, while removing protection from a less threatened habitat.’"

Many of the decisions of the Fish and Wildlife Service have come under close review since it was discovered that Julie MacDonald, a  senior Bush appointee at the U.S. Interior Department, repeatedly refused to accept staff scientists’  recommendations about the need to protect animals and plants.

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Bob Spencer

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