USFWS requests information on endangered southeastern species

Key Largo, FL is home to the Key Largo woodrat, a species currently undergoing an ESA status review.
© Peter Miller

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has initiated a five-year Endangered Species Act status review for 22 species found in the southeastern United States, including three endangered mammals; the Alabama beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus ammobates), the Chochtawatchee beach mouse (P. p. allophyrs), and the Key Largo woodrat (Neotoma floridana smalli). These reviews aim to compile the best available scientific and commercial data in order to to determine whether current ESA listings are warranted or if revisions to the listings are necessary.

The Alabama beach mouse and the Chochtawatchee beach mouse are two of several beach mouse subspecies that live only in coastal sand dunes. The mice are threatened by habitat fragmentation and destruction due to development, natural disasters, and human use of sand dunes. Predation by feral cats also poses a threat to these subspecies.

The Key Largo woodrat can only be found in the closed canopy forests of Key Largo, Florida, and faces many of the same threats as the beach mice. Sea level rise also poses a risk to the woodrat, as increased water levels may overtake its current habitat.

TWS members and other wildlife professionals now have the opportunity to provide scientific information about these species that will inform future listing decisions. All information about these species must be submitted to USFWS prior to the end of the comment period on Oct. 31, 2016.

Read TWS’ Standing Position Statement on The Use of Science in Policy and Management Decisions