Species threatened by habitat destruction; cattlemen’s suit would worsen problem

Guardians has filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s designation of critical habitat for the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse.

New Mexico meadow jumping mice once lived along streams in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, but livestock grazing, water mismanagement, drought, and fire have decimated their habitat. In 2016, the Service designated 14,000 acres of critical habitat for the mouse across three states—a very limited amount when compared with the mouse’s historic range. Despite this, two cattlemen’s associations are suing the Service seeking to overturn this critical habitat designation.

New Mexico meadow jumping mice hibernate for up to nine months a year, leaving them a narrow timeframe each summer to mate, reproduce, and gain enough weight to survive another long hibernation. To do this, they depend on highly specialized habitat along perennial flowing streams. In the summer, cattle concentrate in this habitat, destroying it with their intensive grazing–and thereby fragmenting mouse populations.

Read the press release.


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