By Molly Messick
Laramie, Wyo. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the Wyoming pocket gopher does not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act.
The Wyoming pocket gopher is the state's only endemic mammal, and its range is extremely limited. It's only been found in parts of Carbon and Sweetwater Counties. The Laramie-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance petitioned to protect the Wyoming pocket gopher. The group's Duane Short says he is dismayed by today's decision. "It is really mind-boggling to consider that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency chartered to protect wildlife, is not doing this in this case," he said. "We are startled."
Short says it's a no-brainer that extensive oil and gas development throughout the Wyoming pocket gopher's range threatens the animal. In three months of scientific surveys last summer, only 20 Wyoming pocket gophers were found.