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Agency Begins Review|on Texas Kangaroo Rat

WASHINGTON (CN) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will review whether the Texas kangaroo rat should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

According a petition by the WildEarth Guardians to list the rat as threatened or endangered, the tiny rodent is threatened by loss of habitat because its native range is being converted to crops, used for domestic livestock grazing and altered by brush removal for fire control.

The agency disputes some of the claims presented in the petition, specifically that livestock grazing has a negative impact on the rat, because the grazing results in dense interspersed vegetation which is in fact ideal habitat for the rat.

As part of the 12-month review, the agency is asking for public comment on the life cycle and habits of the Texas kangaroo rat and data on the impact of crop conversion, livestock grazing and fire suppression on its range.

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