Ord’s kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ordii) COSEWIC assessment and status report: chapter 11

Special Significance of the Species

Ord’s kangaroo rat is the only Dipodomys that occurs in Canada. Although the species is widely distributed and secure in the majority of its range in western North America, the Canadian population is geographically isolated and exhibits characteristics, e.g., torpor use, that appear unique among kangaroo rats (Gummer 1997a, Gummer and Robertson 2003c, Gummer 2005).

Ord’s kangaroo rats may serve a keystone role in prairie sand hills, by exerting substantial effects on the plant communities, soils, and predators. Declines or extinction of Ord’s kangaroo rats from this ecosystem would permanently alter many interspecific relationships. Ord’s kangaroo rats are also a useful focal species for conservation of prairie sand dunes, which are rare and declining habitats upon which many other species at risk and a high proportion of endemic biodiversity depend (Finnamore and Buckle 1999).

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