Room to jump - Preble's meadow jumping mouse gets additional critical habitat

Yesterday, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced the designation of additional critical habitat for Colorado’s Preble’s meadow jumping mouse.  For those of you who may have been following this mouse’s saga, you’ll know that the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse – which can jump 18 inches high and switch direction in mid-air - was almost denied any protections at all let alone the 400 miles of stream-side habitat that it received yesterday. 

Because this mouse makes its home along a real-estate-desirable area of Colorado’s beautiful Front Range, there have been several attempts to tamper with its conservation status including a dubious genetic study that tried to question whether it was a subspecies and direct political manipulation to exclude certain areas of its critical habitat.  The Preble’s meadow jumping mouse still doesn’t have the full recognition that it deserves as the Fish and Wildlife Service continues to exclude it from protections in the Wyoming portion of its range – a decision that we are still challenging. 

But yesterday’s decision to expand the mouse’s critical habitat is a great step forward from its previous under-recognized status and as Josh Pollock, the Conservation Director for the Center for Native Ecosystems, points out this is a victory not just for the mouse, but for “anyone who cares about clean water and healthy wildlife and grasslands in Colorado.”  Having grown up at the foot of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and knowing the great beauty and pristine nature of these habitats I would say that yesterday’s announcement provides plenty of reason for man and mouse alike to jump for joy.

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Photo by TalkePhotography shared via Flick'r.