There's a new mammal at Bryce Canyon National Park. At least its presence is new to park officials.
A shrew was discovered for the first time during an in-depth study by the National Ecology Research Center of Fort Collins, Colo.The study is designed to keep animals from becoming extinct, to analyze and categorize a variety of mammals and to discover previously unknown species. Three species have disappeared from Bryce Canyon's wild landscape - the gray wolf, wolverine and grizzly bear.
Michael Bogen, a research biologist, has been in charge of the six-year ongoing study. Much of his time in collecting data has been spent at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado, where 11 previously unlisted species were identified.
At Bryce Canyon, Bogen was assisted by area residents Catherine Jeane, a seasonal worker and biological technician at the park; Scott Reynolds, son of Park Superintendent Bob Reynolds and a student at Bryce Valley High School; Linda Ryan, museum technician at Bryce; and Dave Kallenbach, a seasonal interpreter at the park.
Team members set mouse and rat traps nightly. After capture, the specimens were measured and weighed. The skins were then treated for preservation, cataloged and added to a collection at Fort Collins, which numbers about 50,000 vertebrates.
The "expected" was also found at Bryce Canyon - such small mammals as deer mice, ground squirrels and tree squirrels.
Bogen and Bob Fisher, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are responsible for maintaining some 300,000 small mammal specimens at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Both men have zoology degrees and have been involved in research. Bogen has worked on proj-ects in Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona, and as a small mammal consultant in Russia, Europe, Mexico and Japan.
The Bryce Canyon study was sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.