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NAU Team Finds Endangered Jumping Mouse In Arizona, New Mexico

endangered meadow jumping mouse
(Photo courtesy of Jose Gabriel Martinez-Fonseca)
Endangered meadow jumping mouse.

A research team from Northern Arizona University confirmed the presence of the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse in parts of Arizona and New Mexico. It’s the first regional survey in a decade, and the team is using ink to find the mice.

They’re using what’s called a “track plate.” It’s a box with an inkpad in the entrance. The mice leave distinct long-toed footprints when they enter the box to eat the bait.

“Because the species are listed as endangered, we are very concerned about the population sizes and we’re looking hard this summer to try to find the animals in as many locations as possible,” said Wildlife ecologist Carol Chambers, who leads the projectt.

The NAU team found jumping mice in the Santa Fe and Apache Sitgreaves national forests. The mouse lives near riparian areas and hibernates most of the year. It was listed as endangered in 2014.

The new data will be used to develop a model of the mouse’s preferred habitat, which will inform land management decisions. The U.S. Forest Service has tried fencing off some sensitive riparian areas to keep cattle and elk out. 

Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated 14,000 acres in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado as critical habitat for the species.

MORE: Interactive Timeline: Arizona's Threatened And Endangered Species

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Melissa grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Arizona and an M.FA. in Creative Writing and Environment from Iowa State University.