Thursday, December 1, 2022

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The last ditch effort to save the adorable Mojave Desert vole is finally working

A tiny Mojave Desert vole has been brought back from the brink of extinction thanks to conservation efforts.

The fluffy creature is known as the Amargosa vole, and the tiny rodents are so highly specialized that they can only live in very specific environments, primarily along a 10-mile stretch of the Amargosa River in California. They have been listed as endangered by the US Department of Fish and Wildlife since 1984.

In a new image, researchers from the University of California, Davis found one, and possibly two, baby voles born to parents who were reintroduced to restored marshland habitat.

“Like several species in the Mojave Desert, the habitat where Amargosa voles were found was really limited, and they were rather extremely specialized in a rare marshy habitat in the middle of a very dry desert,” said Janet Foley, vole manager and professor at UC. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said Pleasemynews.

“Then one of the small towns where they were present, Shoshone, developed a bit, the swamps were turned into a habitat, and the voles disappeared there, so they were only found in another small small town,” Foley said. .

Amargosa voles were thought to be extinct in the early 1900s, but were rediscovered in the 1970s. Foley’s research from 2015 showed the species had an 82% chance of becoming extinct within five years without prompt intervention.

A large multi-agency group was formed, consisting of the US Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Amargosa Conservancy, Nature Conservancy, Shoshone Village, UC Davis, UC Berkeley and the US Geological Survey, Foley said. “And all of these partners are working to restore habitat and species.”

She continued, “We’ve restored habitat, managed water, studied diseases and predators, studied population genetics, translocated animals, monitored their movements, and we have a captive breeding colony.”

The Amargosa vole is not the only species that has been brought back from near extinction thanks to conservation efforts. Wolves were successfully reintroduced to Isle Royale in Canada, restoring a population that had only two members. And the shortnose sturgeon has been successfully protected after huge population declines resulting from dams.

Protecting species like the Amargosa vole and other species on the brink of extinction is extremely important, according to Foley.

“In their little corner of the world, they are one of the main foods for many different species of predators,” she said. “They’re animal ambassadors. They’re cute and we’ve had great success getting them back, so they help people care and know they can make a difference. Their specialization in this wetland habitat Desert habitats give us an important opportunity to study their physiology and ecology to understand how animals can live in harsh conditions, and they are a significant contributor to the state’s biodiversity.

The outlook for the lesser vole is good, according to Foley, and hopefully they won’t face near extinction again.

“They turn out to do well in captivity if needed again. Their population is small but relatively stable, and the fact that we can create a habitat for them and have them thrive is huge,” he said. she declared.

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