Taxonomic Concepts in the news

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Feb 16 10:52:06 CST 2005

Dear All,
       Well, the good news is that this population still has another year of protection.  The conclusion that this population is not distinct was based on mitochondrial DNA sequences, but they are now doing nuclear DNA studies that will hopefully be more accurate (keep your fingers crossed).  I'm afraid that's all the good news, but at least it's better than ALL bad news.

      The bad news is that the state governments of Wyoming and Colorado really want this subspecies off the list, and having a Bush administration in Washington certainly hasn't hurt their chances of doing it.  That they call it a 9-inch mouse (instead of a 3-inch mouse with six-inch tail) looks like an attempt to make the mouse less cute (like it's the size of a rat or something).  It is the "spotted-owl" of this ecosystem, and the real goal is to save habitat for a lot of other species as well (not to mention clean water and other environmental issues).

      If this population is no longer protected, watch for the mining industry, oil and gas drillers, and land developers to swoop in.  Would probably also make it easier for mega-ranching operations to pollute waterways (oh, how about putting in some of those mega-hog "farms", like we have in southwest Kansas).  Almost half of the protected habitat for this mouse was trimmed off in 2003, and now big business wants access to the rest of it.  Anyway, if you would like to read more about the broad implications of this political battle, here is a good place to start:

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