The largest population of the endangered Pacific pocket mouse is found at Camp Pendleton. Marines there do their best to avoid harming the tiny creature during training, but Marine officials are working for more formal guidelines to ensure the mouse's survival.
Maj. David Roen is in charge of making sure Marine Corps bases are complying with environmental laws. He told the Los Angeles Times:
“A comprehensive management plan would be much broader in scope and depth than simply telling Marines to watch out for the mouse while they are training."
Last month the Marine Corps, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research teamed up to create a "captive breeding program" for the Pacific pocket mice, with many of the mice used found at Camp Pendleton.
The federal government listed the Pacific pocket mouse as an endangered species in 1994. There are actually an estimated 16 endangered or threatened species who make their home at Camp Pendleton.
Dan Felkin heads up environmental training at Camp Pendleton. He says everyone from recruits to commanders sit in on lectures to learn about the animals on base:
"Our Marines know about every species on base, be it a bird, mouse or plant."