The Stephens’ Kangaroo Rat has been stirring up much trouble and debate as of late amongst Southern California natives. The Kangaroo Rat is known for being a nocturnal burrow dwelling rat that primarily feeds on seeds. They have fur-lined cheek pouches to help them transport seeds along with large heads. Many Riverside County Farmers as well as San Diego and San Bernardino farmers are well aware of the nuisance that a Kangaroo Rat can be. However the Kangaroo Rat is protected under the Endangered species act as ruled by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
According to Damien Schiff, the attorney spokesperson representing the Farm Bureau, “The service essentially ignored the Farm Bureaus’s main argument , which is that the rat should not have been listed to begin with,”. Aside from being a general nuisance to farmers protection of the Kangaroo Rat has slowed construction of a freeway in western Riverside county.
Recently pressure has forced the Fish and Wildlife Service to review the rat’s endangered status upon officially receiving two petitions to de-list the Kangaroo rat. The first request came 1995 and the second was filed in 2002, with both claiming that new populations of Kangaroo Rats have been discovered and that the species no longer needs federal protection.
On the opposing side is biologist Ileene Anderson who stated that “The Fish and Wildlife Service made the right call, now instead of keeping it teetering on the brink of extinction, they need to step up protections to recover the kangaroo rat.”
What do you think the endangered status of the Kangaroo Rat should be? On one side the Kangaroo Rat is seen as a nuisance and on the other the Kangaroo Rat is seen as a rare species. At any rate if you happen to have one of those not so rare species of rats or pests at your Southern California home or business contact the Southern California rat control experts!