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Service to Move Forward on Petition to Delist Cape Mountain Zebra, Retains ESA Protections for Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse

April 16, 2018

Contact(s):

Ivan Vicente, Ivan_Vicente@fws.gov, 703-358-1730



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has completed initial reviews of Endangered Species Act (ESA) petitions for two species, the Cape mountain zebra and the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse.  The Service found that the petition delist or downlist the Cape mountain zebra presents substantial information that a change in status may be warranted; accordingly the Service will begin an in-depth review to determine whether the species should be delisted or downlisted. The petition for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse did not present substantial information that delisting may be warranted and so the species will continue to be protected under the ESA.

The Cape mountain zebra population has increased from fewer than 80 individuals in the 1950s to over 4,000 in 2015. A recent study estimated a 572% increase from 1985-2015 across nine subpopulations located within protected areas. While habitat is fragmented and some appears to be of questionable quality, habitat availability in general is increasing, as is the overall subspecies’ population. However, the Cape mountain zebra population originates from a very small genepool, and loss of genetic diversity through inbreeding is the greatest current threat to Cape mountain zebra.

The petition to delist the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, which occurs only in Wyoming and Colorado, alleged a taxonomic error in the listing of the species. The Service found that the petition did not present substantial scientific or commercial data indicating an error in taxonomic information or challenging a 2014 status review in which the Service determined that the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse is a valid subspecies.

The Federal Register docket number and link for the substantial finding in this batch is:

Species

Range

Docket Number

Docket link

Cape mountain zebra

South Africa

FWS-HQ-ES-2017-0100

http://www.regulations.gov/docket?D= FWS-HQ-ES-2017-0100

 

The Federal Register docket number and link for the not substantial finding in this batch is:

Species

Range

Docket Number

Docket link

Preble’s meadow jumping mouse

CO, WY

FWS-R6-ES-2017-0102

http://www.regulations.gov/docket?D= FWS-R6-ES-2017-0102

 

The notice for the above findings will be available in the Federal Register Reading Room on April 16, 2018 at https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection by clicking on the 2018 Notices link under Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

Substantial 90-day findings represent one early step in a rigorous process by which the Service determines whether or not a species warrants a change in listing status under the ESA. The standard for a positive 90-day finding is relatively low, requiring only that the petitioner provide substantial information that a change in listing status may be warranted. The standard for a positive 12-month finding (the next step in the process) is much higher, involving an in-depth status review and analysis using the best available scientific information.

As the Service begins its in-depth review of the Cape mountain zebra, it is important that the agency has the best and most up-to-date information possible to inform its decision-making process, including any new information concerning the status of, or threats to this species or its habitat. The public can play a role by sending pertinent scientific and commercial data and other information for us to consider in the status review. Complete instructions for submitting comments are provided in the Federal Register notice.

For more information on the ESA listing process, including 90-day findings and status reviews, please go to www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf.


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