The Incredible Jumping Mouse of El Paso County


Eric Alterman has a blog on the MSN website. Eric Alterman is, of course, a liberal. The latest posting today is how President Bush is anti-science, and by implication, anti-intellectual. The proof of this anti-intellectualism? The budget for the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife has been slashed in the President’s most recent Budget proposal, and, alas, morale at the Fish and Wildlife Service is plummeting.

Living in Colorado has offered me the opportunity to witness, first hand, the kind of “science” the FWS engages in. Specifically, we here on the Front Range had been living with the effects of the addition of the "Prebles Jumping Mouse" to the Departments Endangered Species List. In case you are not familiar with the Prebles, it is a 9 inch mouse that can jump a couple of feet in the air and change direction in mid-flight. The question is, what makes this mouse qualify for the Endangered Species list? Well, the classification is based upon a 1954 study of 3 mouse skulls and 11 mouse skins that determined the little guy was a separate, and of course, rare, (since they only studied 3 skulls) species from all the other populations of jumping mice found all over the Front Range. I personally think the skulls discovered were those of scientists from the U. S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, but I’m no expert. In any case, this 1954 study led to the mouse being added to the protected list.

You might be wondering why one should be concerned if a 9 inch mouse is offered protection based upon the full faith and credit of the United States Government. Well, as reported in a CNEWS article on January 31 of this year, this status has caused developers, builders, landowners, and local governments to spend as much as $100 million protecting the little critter. And, as the story points out, it seems, upon further study, that the Prebles Jumping Mouse may not be endangered after all. In fact, it may not really exist as a separate species. I guess they found a few more skulls.

“Scientists” at the Fish and Wildlife Service have made a career, at Government taxpayer expense, of studying and protecting a non-existent species. When President Bush steps in and proposes a little budget cutting, their natural reaction is to write to all the media claiming that he is “anti-science” and their morale is being damaged.

I don’t know about you, but it sounds to me like the President is doing his job and making budget choices based upon the needs of the nation, not the needs of some Government bureaucrats who don't know an endangered species if they see one.

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This page contains a single entry by Ron Moffat published on February 14, 2005 8:15 PM.

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