Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, found in Colorado, Wyoming, remains on protected list

FILE – This June 2014, file photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows Debra Hill weighing a New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, which was trapped during survey efforts on the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, N.M. Biologists who spent weeks in three New Mexico national forests searching for signs of the elusive, endangered mouse that looks somewhat like a tiny kangaroo have found what they call irrefutable evidence that it still lives in the state for which it is named. U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Beth Humphrey said Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, confirming the rodent’s existence provides hope that the species can recover over time. (Stacey Stanford/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP, File)

DENVER  |  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a long-tailed mouse found only in Colorado and Wyoming will remain protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The agency on Monday rejected a petition filed by homebuilders and ranchers who argued the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse shouldn’t be protected. They said it isn’t a distinct subspecies but is essentially the same as other, more plentiful mice.

The agency says the petition didn’t include substantial evidence.

Pacific Legal Foundation, which filed the petition, says it’s disappointed. The group says it will review the decision with its clients before deciding whether to challenge it in court.

The mouse was listed as threatened in 1998. Its identity has been disputed for years, prompting multiple legal challenges.

Opponents say the protections result in costly and unnecessary restrictions on land use.