CZAAWE Resource Article

Successful care and propagation of the endangered amargosa vole (Microtus californicus scirpensis) in captivity
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
2018
Publication/Journal 
Zoo Biology
Abstract 
The Amargosa vole (Microtus californicus scirpensis) is a highlyendangered rodent endemic to a small stretch of the California portion of the Amargosa River basin in Inyo County's Mojave Desert. Although the Amargosa vole has survived in this naturally fragmented ecosystem for thousands of years, recent habitat degradation due to land development, water drainage, and marsh exploitation has further isolated the species and reduced its available habitat. As part of a conservation effort to preserve the species, a captive breeding population was established in 2014 to serve as an insurance colony and as a source of individuals to release into the wild as restored habitat becomes available. As this is the only captive colony for this species, there is little published information about appropriate care and husbandry for the Amargosa vole. Here we provide information about behavior, diet, reproduction, drug sensitivities, and diseases that affect successful captive care. We also provide recommendations for housing and disease management to preserve natural behaviors and defenses in captive‐born animals.