The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule (pdf) listing the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius luteus) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

The jumping mouse is a small mammal that hibernates eight or nine months out of the year, which is longer than most mammals. In the three or four months it is active, the jumping mouse must breed, birth, raise its young, and store up sufficient fat reserves to survive the next hibernation period. In addition, the jumping mouse has a limited lifespan of three years or less, and produces only one small litter annually. Due to its low reproductive potential, the jumping mouse has limited capacity for high population growth.

The primary threat to the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse is cumulative habitat loss and habitat fragmentation across its range. The sources of habitat loss include impacts from grazing, water management and use, lack of water due to drought, and wildfires. The Service expects to publish a final rule designating critical habitat for the species in coming months.

The final rule listing the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse as endangered will become effective on July 10, 2014.

(Photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)