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Biologists discover elusive, endangered animal at site of Colorado's newest state park

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Posted at 4:58 PM, Dec 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-23 12:54:54-05

Biologists surveying Fishers Peak, the property that will become Colorado's newest state park, have discovered an endangered critter calls the area home.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the biologists discovered the federally endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse on the 19,200 acre property.

The elusive mouse lives in riparian zones in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona and is rarely seen because it spends eight to nine months each year hibernating. During the summer months, the mouse can be found along streams and rivers in areas with wet soils and tall vegetation, according to CPW.

The mouse was listed as endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 2014 due to loss of habitat and low population numbers.

According to CPW, the mouse has been previously discovered in the region, at Lake Dorothey State Wildlife Area, which is east of the Fishers Peak property.

It has also been found in southwest Colorado at Navajo State Park near Pagosa Springs and along the Florida River, east of Durango. All three areas were designated as "critical habitat" by the USFWS in 2016.

“We don’t expect this discovery to impact the development of the state park,” CPW Director Dan Prenzlow said. “The habitats where the mouse lives are important for many other wildlife species, as well. We don’t intend to disrupt them as we design the park. We will balance the needs of our visitors with the wildlife that call the property home."

You can find more information on the News Mexico meadow jumping mouse here: New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse