Monday, May 22, 2006

Of mouse and man

There's a big discussion going on about a very little creature. The Preble's meadow jumping mouse is the subject of the controversy. One study showed that the Preble's is genetically distinct and entitled to protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Now, Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal says "there is no such beast as a Preble's meadow jumping mouse," and the mouse in question is genetically indistinguishable from other mice. The governor cited a study that Wyoming commissioned in response to the earlier study that favored the mouse.
Why do we care? Habitat for the mouse is found on some prime real estate in Wyoming and along Colorado's Front Range, and if it is protected, that can impact development. U.S. Fish and Wildlife is expected to make a decision on the mouse by Aug. 6.

Fun facts: The mouse has a 6-inch tail and can leap 18 inches into the air.

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