After Mount Pinatubo on the Philippine island of Luzon erupted violently in 1991, the Pinatubo mouse, a species endemic only to the area surrounding the volcano, was feared to be extinct. Three decades later, however, it turns out the very rare volcano-dwelling mouse is not only alive but actually thriving.
A new study, published recently in the Philippine Journal of Science, describes how recent wildlife surveys in the area have found the rodent not only survived the eruption but that its population is actually booming.
The discovery surprised researchers that a species found in such a localized area made it through a devastating eruption that wiped out entire landscapes. “Despite the fact that all areas surveyed supported sparse, scrubby second-growth vegetation rather than the forest, native rodents were abundant everywhere,” said the authors of the study.
“Mt. Pinatubo could be a wonderful place to establish a long-term project to monitor habitat recovery and community re-assembly following the eruption,” said lead author Eric Rickart of the Natural History Museum of Utah. “Such information would be helpful in efforts to regenerate the many areas that have been deforested by people.”