Preble's Mouse Decision Expected Tomorrow

Laramie, WY – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it will announce its long-awaited decision tomorrow on whether a tiny mouse found only in Wyoming and Colorado should be federally protected.

Fish and Wildlife placed the Preble's meadow jumping mouse on the endangered species list in 1998. But it started the process of removing it in 2005, after a Denver researcher said it was genetically identical to another, more commonly found mouse.

Other research said the Preble's mouse is a separate subspecies, a conclusion supported last year by outside scientists.

The state of Wyoming asked Fish and Wildlife in 2003 to remove the mouse's protections and sued earlier this year to force a decision.

The mouse became a flash point for critics of the Endangered Species Act and environmentalists, who argue that politics rather than science was behind the move to delist it.