Rodents of Usual Size
It’s a grand time to be a San Bernardino kangaroo rat — or as grand as they come for the endangered nine-inch rodent. Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated 33,295 acres of California’s San Bernardino and Riverside counties as critical habitat for the rats, meaning that it will be more difficult to win approval for development projects on the affected lands. The Center for Biological Diversity, which pursued the designation, had hoped for an additional 22,000 protected acres. All nine scientists that reviewed the habitat plan before it was finalized called for more land to be included, but the federal agency begged to differ. The kangaroo rat was once common throughout the two counties, but its numbers have dwindled as its habitat has been reduced and fragmented by development.