Friday, August 18, 2006

Endangered mouse subject of discussion

THAT MOUSE: Would he be in legal trouble and lose all his world possessions if he caught an endangered Preble's meadow jumping mouse in a mousetrap in his house, a reader asked.

Reader Steve Meyer had more information:

“Interestingly enough, I recently contacted the Fish and Wildlife Service on the same subject as I live adjacent to the Higby (Beck) Ranch in Monument and have encountered several of the mice on our property. I received the following response from Dr. Peter Plage, biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado District Office: ‘We have a special rule that among other things makes an exception from Endangered Species Act prohibitions for accidental killing of Preble’s in and around buildings and houses. Specifically it covers rodent control within 10 feet of or inside of any structure. Preble’s are generally not found in association with structures such as barns, houses or other buildings. We believe that any Preble’s mortality associated with trapping near these structures would be insignificant and that this exemption will promote public support for Preble’s conservation efforts. By the way, it also covers continued upkeep such as landscaping, mowing, etc.’”

Meyer added that he also received an e-mail from another official saying that recent studies indicating that the Preble’s mouse was not a distinct species are being challenged and it’s possible it will not be removed, as expected, from the Endangered Species list in the near future.


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