Government, developers hear roar of tiny but high-flying mouse

An acrobatic mouse is threatening &to=http://english.pravda.ru/usa/2002/08/29/35516.html' target=_blank>Bush administration efforts to give Western developers an upper hand over endangered species.

The Preble's meadow jumping mouse is in fact a distinct creature, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study presented Wednesday to senior Interior Department officials.

That finding contradicts research touted by Interior Secretary Gale Norton last February when she proposed removing the mouse from the government's endangered species list. Critics say it also undercuts the administration's claim that it uses the best science available in promoting fewer protections for imperiled wildlife.

The previous study, which was done by a biologist since hired by Norton's department, concluded there was no genetic difference between the Preble's meadow jumping mouse and the much more common Bear Lodge meadow jumping mouse.