Service Proposes Endangered Species Act Protection with Critical Habitat for the New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse
For Immediate Release
June 19, 2013
(Public Comment Sought)
In order to conserve the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius luteus) and protect its habitat the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing to list the jumping mouse as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act and proposing to designate critical habitat. A 60-day public comment period will begin on each of these two proposals when they are published in the Federal register. Comments should be received by COB August 19, 2013.
The threats to the jumping mouse are primarily the cumulative habitat loss and fragmentation across its range, compounded by their short lifespan and low birth rate.
The Service is proposing to designate approximately 14,561 acres of critical habitat along streams within Bernalillo, Colfax, Mora, Otero, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, and Socorro Counties, in New Mexico; Las Animas, Archuleta, and La Plata Counties in Colorado; and Greenlee and Apache Counties in Arizona.
The New Mexico meadow jumping mouse is a species that hibernates about 8 or 9 months out of the year, longer than most mammals. Conversely, it is only active 3 or 4 months during the summer. Within this short time frame, it must breed, birth and raise young, and store up sufficient fat reserves to survive the next year’s hibernation period. In addition, jumping mice only live 3 years or less and have one small litter annually with 7 or less young, so the species has limited capacity for high population growth rates due to this low fecundity. As a result, if resources are not available in a single season, jumping mice populations would be greatly stressed.
The jumping mouse has exceptionally specialized habitat requirements such as tall (averaging at least 24 inches) dense riparian vegetation, only found when wetland vegetation achieves full growth potential associated with perennial flowing water. This vegetation is an important resource need for the jumping mouse because it provides vital food sources (insects and seeds), as well as the structural material for building day nests that are used for shelter from predators.