A Dwindling Front Range Species
The Preble’s meadow jumping mouse is a tiny rodent that can only be found near the Front Range of Colorado and Wyoming. Biologists believe the species arrived in Colorado and Wyoming during the last ice age and remained after the glaciers receded. In the drier, post-glacial climate, the mouse was confined to stream-side ecosystems where moisture was plentiful.
In the last century, widespread habitat loss and fragmentation due to development, water diversions, overgrazing, water pollution, and gravel and sand mining resulted in a rapid decline of already rare Preble’s populations. Another principal threat to the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse is political in nature: special interest groups have aggressively voiced their interest in stripping Endangered Species Act protections from the Preble’s everywhere it lives.
Maintaining Species Protections
Rocky Mountain Wild has been working to see that the Endangered Species Act protections for Preble’s meadow jumping mouse are enforced and that adequate critical habitat is designated. In 2008, we successfully overturned a decision to split federal protections for the mouse based on state lines.
In November of 2017, Rocky Mountain Wild and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to continue protections for the Preble’s jumping mouse under the Endangered Species Act. The private property-rights group, Pacific Legal Foundation, had petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service in March to strip the protections, arguing incorrectly that new genetic information invalidates its status as a subspecies.
Rocky Mountain Wild hopes that our petition will encourage the Fish and Wildlife Service to follow the science and maintain protections for this unique mouse.