We are happy to announce the addition of five more Perdido Key beach mice (PKBM) to our family: three boys and two girls. They are about one-month-old. During ear notching (similar to ear piercing), tiny samples taken from their ears are analyzed to ensure the maintenance of a healthy breeding population. The mice are under anesthesia and do not experience pain during the procedure.
As their name implies, Perdido Key Beach mice inhabit prime oceanfront real estate along the Gulf of Mexico. They are crucial to the health of dune ecosystems and help stabilize dunes by creating tunnels for aeration and acting as seed dispersers of native dune plants.
For decades, these beach mice have struggled to persist as sand dunes turned into high-rise condominiums and hurricanes repeatedly flattened and scoured their 16-mile long island. This species most recently teetered on extinction following an active hurricane season in 2004, but now beach mouse populations are currently at a 30-year high, with over 600 individuals.
Conservation actions and Endangered Species Act protections must continue, as the next struggle may be just one hurricane season away.
Wondering why you haven’t seen them in the Zoo? Well, they are part of a multi-organization breeding program taking place behind-the-scenes in an effort to save the species. The five offspring means Palm Beach Zoo is now home to 35 PKBM. Part of our mission is to not only help protect species in the wild, but to also participate in reintroduction programs for species in peril of extinction.