Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Hualapai Mexican Vole Removed from List of Endangered Species Due to New Scientific Information on Species Taxonomy

June 22, 2017

Contact:

Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220
Website: https://www.fws.gov/external-affairs/public-affairs/



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has removed the Hualapai Mexican vole from the list of endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Recent scientific analysis indicated that the Hualapai Mexican vole is not a separate subspecies; rather it is one of many populations of Mexican voles that are broadly distributed across much of northern Arizona and not imperiled. The removal of the Hualapai Mexican vole from the ESA will publish in the Federal Register on Friday and become effective on July 24.

“The Endangered Species Act requires us to use the best available science in our decisions and to update the science on which they are based when possible,” said Steve Spangle, the Service’s Arizona Ecological Services Field Supervisor. “We look forward to continuing our close work with diverse partners such as the Arizona Game and Fish Department, private landowners and local communities on other pressing conservation issues in the state.”

The Mexican vole is a cinnamon-brown, mouse-sized mammal with a short tail and fur that nearly covers its small, round ears. It inhabits woodland forests containing the grasses and sedges upon which it feeds. It occurs in Arizona in the Hualapai Mountains, Music Mountains, Aubrey Cliffs, Chino Wash, Santa Maria Mountains, and Bradshaw Mountains and possibly Round Mountain and Sierra Prieta.

When added to the ESA in 1987, the Hualapai Mexican vole was thought to be a distinct subspecies known to occur only in the Hualapai Mountains (southwest of Kingman, Arizona) and possibly other nearby locations. It was listed as an endangered species due to its perceived rarity and limited habitat, along with threats posed by drought, elimination of ground cover due to grazing by livestock and elk, increased concentration of ungulates at developed water sources, and human recreation. Since 1987, the Bureau of Land Management, Mohave County, grazing permittees and private landowners have contributed to maintaining and improving habitat in the Hualapai Mountains – benefitting voles and other wildlife, sustainable grazing and recreation.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department petitioned the Service to remove the Hualapai Mexican vole from the ESA in 2004, based on taxonomic research suggesting it was part of a broader ranging species. Subsequent careful analysis and peer review of this and further research indicate that it is indeed not genetically distinct from other Mexican vole populations.

For more information on the vole and today’s rule change, visit our website at: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/arizona/.

FWS Arizona Ecological Services' Hualapai Mexican Vole webpage

Information contained in older news items may be outdated. These materials are made available as historical archival information only. Individual contacts have been replaced with general External Affairs office information. No other updates have been made to the information and we do not guarantee current accuracy or completeness.


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