The feds have said “no” to an endangered species listing for a tiny mammal that only lives in Sweetwater and Carbon Counties. Conservation groups petitioned three years ago to get protection for the Wyoming pocket gopher – and that brought concerns because a listing would have affected oil, gas and wind development planned for over much of the creature’s range. Wildlife biologist Sophie Osborn with the Wyoming Outdoor Council says more research is needed.
While other species of gophers have a bad rap for damaging property and crops, Osborn says pocket gophers are an important food source for birds of prey and bring additional benefits.
The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service announced the decision not to list the Wyoming pocket gopher as endangered this past week. Osborn believes the species was rejected because there's a lack of research about how the gophers would respond to human intrusions such as roads, heavy equipment and noise.