This species status report describes the distribution, habitat, biology, population size and trends, limiting factors and threats, existing protection or species designations, significance of the species. The Least Chipmunk (Tamias minimus), found throughout the boreal forest and western Cordillera, has the largest distributional area of any chipmunk. Twenty-one subspecies are recognized; four occur in British Columbia. Two subspecies, T. m. oreocetes and T. m. selkirki, are confined to alpine areas in the southern Rocky and Purcell Mountains and are of conservation concern. They are the only subspecies of the Least Chipmunk that are confined to alpine. The British Columbia Conservation Data Centre currently ranks T. m. oreocetes as S2S3 because of its limited range and few occurrences. Although it has a restricted range in British Columbia, much of its Canadian range occurs within provincial and national protected areas along the Continental Divide. Except for the localized effects of open pit coal mines, no threats are known. There is no evidence of habitat or population declines. Priorities for conserving and managing T. m. oreocetes include molecular studies to verify the taxonomic validity of this race, and inventories in the mountains west of the Flathead River valley to determine the limits of its range. More inventory is essential to determine if T. m. selkirki is present in the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy and to what extent the Springs Creek and Mount Brewer occurrences are isolated subpopulations. Future mining activity and off- road vehicle activity at the Paradise Mine site near the Springs Creek basin should be monitored for their possible impact on T. m. selkirki.
Nagorsen, David. 2004. Status of the Least Chipmunk (Tamias minimus) subspecies T.m. oreocetes and T.M. selkirki in British Columbia. Ministry of Environment. Wildlife Working Report. WR 116
Topic: Species Status
Keywords: tamias minimus, tamias, species status report, species conservation and management