U.S. federal protection for the rare Preble's Meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) may be restored, not to mention a bird, the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, known as the "Mosquito King," and a host of other endangered critters: a prairie dog, a toad, a frog, a lynx and 12 species of Hawaiian picture-wing flies.
It seems that the former deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Julie MacDonald, who resigned two months ago after a devastating report on her professional conduct, had been getting just a tad too involved in scientific research. MacDonald, a Bush appointee with a civil engineering background, was caught altering the findings of scientists about endangered species, and leaking information about the scientists to industry honchos. She was apparently the boss from hell on top of that, which led to the complaint that sank her. (As one blogger noted, if she had been nicer to work with, she might still have her job.)
Her superior, H. Dale Hall, Director of the USFWS, has now announced that decisions affecting the animals mentioned will be reviewed. "We want to make sure that the science is true," he said. The review, however, covers only a third of the cases in which MacDonald has been accused of improper conduct. Such exotic species as the Mexican garter snake, the bull trout and the marbled murrelet are on their own for now.
Meanwhile, Stephen Harper has appointed Tim Ball as the new Deputy Minister of Environment. Just kidding.