Small mammals desperately need attention — now we know where to focus

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Two small mammal groups — Rodentia (like mice, beavers, squirrels) and Eulipotyphla (like shrews, moles and hedgehogs) — together contain nearly half of all known mammal species. A new study provides an updated picture of where all of the globally threatened species from the two groups occur. A new study provides an updated picture of where all of the globally threatened species from the two groups occur. The authors say they hope the study will not just get people excited about working with small mammals, but also encourage funders to invest in conservation or research projects focusing on these long-neglected but species-rich animal groups. Think of a mammal that’s at risk of extinction. What comes to mind? A charismatic tiger, perhaps? Or a grand herd of majestic elephants? What about the Mount Lefo brush-furred mouse ( Lophuromys eisentrauti ), a rodent found only on Mount Lefo in Cameroon? Or the Sclater’s shrew ( Sorex sclateri ) that lives in Mexico? Both the mouse and the shrew are critically endangered species. But if you haven’t heard of them, you’re not alone. Many small-bodied mammals, those typically weighing less than a kilogram (2.2 pounds), still remain poorly studied and understood, even […]

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