By Ashley Lawson, Youth Manager
When people think of endangered animals in need of our help, mice don’t often come to mind, but they should! Certain types of mice, like the Pacific Pocket Mouse are invaluable contributors to their habitats and are in danger of extinction.
Why they are important: The Pacific Pocket Mouse makes its home in the sandy coastal soils found in Tree Musketeers’ hometown of El Segundo and surrounding areas. Here, these tiny, furry friends are an integral part of their habitat as they provide a food source to larger predators like foxes. Also, as they consume and spread the seeds that are the primary components of their diet they help propagate plants like Purple Leaf Sage and Coastal Buckwheat.
What is the problem: Until 1993, it was believed that the Pacific Pocket Mouse was extinct until a few were discovered near Camp Pendleton in San Diego. Since then they have been put on the endangered species list and scientists and conservationists have been working to rehabilitate the dangerously low population. Currently, there are an estimated 150 Pacific Pocket Mice living in the wild.
Why they are going extinct: As an animals habitat is threatened, so too are its inhabitants. This is the case with the Pacific Pocket Mouse, whose coastal sand habitat is threatened by urban development, agriculture, and invasion by non-native plants and animals.
How we can help: Unlike some of the other animals featured in our Endangered series, there are many ways to help the Pacific Pocket Mouse here in El Segundo:
- Volunteer at our Native Species Habitat. We hold Native Species Restoration days every Friday for volunteers 18 and up to help care for the Native Habitat that provides a home to these tiny friends.
- Keep their Habitat safe! When near the beach (or anywhere else) refrain from littering or damaging the native plant life they call home. You can also remove litter and take it with you when you leave.
- Spread the word. Let friends and family know that there are endangered species close to home that need our help and protection.
Want more of The Endangered? Check out the growing list of articles on our Wildlife page.