U.S. considers protection for Oregon rodent
PORTLAND -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering whether the dusky tree vole qualifies for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The service says it is beginning a yearlong study to determine if the small rodent found only along the Oregon Coast and the state's Western Cascades range should be protected.
The Center for Biological Diversity and other groups have petitioned the service to protect the animal.
Petitioners say logging has disturbed the creatures' habitat and placed them at risk.
Dusky tree voles are brownish-red rodents that tend to be smaller than a common house mouse.
They weigh about three to five ounces and live in nests on top of Douglas-fir trees and other conifers.
The service says it will take public comment on the issue until Dec. 29.
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