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BC Conservation Data Centre: Conservation Status Report

Neotamias minimus selkirki
Least Chipmunk, selkirki subspecies

Scientific Name: Neotamias minimus selkirki
Scientific Name Synonyms: Tamias minimus selkirki
English Name: Least Chipmunk, selkirki subspecies
Provincial Status Summary
Status: S1
Date Status Assigned: February 27, 2003
Date Last Reviewed: December 08, 2006
Reasons: At present only five occurrences have been documented, with an estimated total of individuals at less than a thousand. At another apparently suitable area (Lead Queen Mountain) within the range given by Cowan and Guiguet (1965), Nagorsen and Fraker (1998b) were unable to find any N. m. selkirki. This endemic subspecies' range is very limited, both in range and area of occupancy. No genetic work has been done to verify if N.m. selkirki is distinct from N.m. oreocetes.
Range Extent: B = 100-250 square km
Range Extent Comments: N. m. selkirki is presumed to be restricted to the alpine and sub-alpine habitats of two known localized areas within the Purcell Mountains: Spring Creek basin and Mount Brewer. Total range extent estimated to be about 145 sqkm.
Area of Occupancy (km2): C = 3-5
Area of Occupancy Comments: Area of occupancy is approximatley 16 sqkm calculated from four 4-km2 grid cells.
Occurrences & Population
Number of Occurrences: AB = 1 - 20
Comments: There is believed to be about 5 occurrences including: 1) the alpine and subalpine region of the Paradise Mine, Spring Creek drainage(Toby Creek watershed), 2) Mt. Brewer in the Purcell Mountains (Nagorsen and Fraker 1998), 3) Bruce Creek Creek, and 4) Springs Creek (Nagorsen 2003). However, Nagorsen and Fraker (1998) did not find this subspecies on Lead Queen Mountain in apparently suitable habitat, and thus it may be that it is less widely distributed in the Purcell Mountains than was believed by Cowan and Guiguet (1965).
Number of Occurrences with Good Viability / Ecological Integrity: B = 1 - 3
Number of Occurrences Appropriately Protected & Managed: A = None
Comments: None occur in protected areas.
Population Size: C = 250 - 1,000 individuals
Comments: Probably fewer than 1000 individuals, with an estimate closer to 500 (Nagorsen 2004).
Threats (to population, occurrences, or area affected)
Degree of Threat: Widespread, low-severity threat
Comments: Because this subspecies inhabits alpine and sub-alpine habitats, it is not subject to most human activities. The only potential threats are the effects of having a small population size and future mining activity (Nagorsen 2004).
Trend (in population, range, area occupied, and/or condition of occurrences)
Short-Term Trend: G = Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Comments: (G) Because there is little human activity in the alpine and subalpine habitats that could affect this subspecies, the populations probably are stable. The only population known from over a period of time, the one at Paradise Mines (a disturbed site), appears stable (Nagorsen et al. 2002).
Long-Term Trend: U = Unknown
Comments: No trend data available.
Other Factors
Intrinsic Vulnerability: B=Moderately vulnerable
Comments: Moderately vulnerable due to its distribution of small populations (Nagorsen 2004).
Environmental Specificity: C=Moderate. Generalist or community with some key requirements scarce.
Comments: N.m selkirki is considered to be moderately vulnerable due to key requirements such as talus or krummholz being scarce or patchily distributed (Nagorsen 2004).
Other Rank Considerations:
Information Gaps
Research Needs:
Inventory Needs: It is probable that several populations occur in the Purcell Mountains; however, there has been very limited inventory in this region.
Management: Alpine and subalpine parkland areas in the Purcell Mountains that are considered for development (e.g., mines and ski resorts) should be surveyed.
Author: K.Meyers
Date: October 27, 2014
Cowan, I.McT. 1946. Notes on the distribution of the chipmunks Eutamias in southern British Columbia and the Rocky Mountain region of southern Alberta with descriptions of two new races. Proc. Bio. Soc. Wash. 59:107-118.
Cowan, I.McT., and C.J. Guiguet. 1965. The mammals of British Columbia. Handb. No. 11, B.C. Prov. Mus., Victoria. 414pp.
Fraker, M.A., and D.W. Nagorsen. 1998. Chipmunks (Tamias) and southern red-backed voles (Clethrionomys gapperi) in the Kootenay region of British Columbia: results of 1996 field studies. Unpubl. rep. prepared for B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, Nelson. TerraMar Environ. Res. Ltd., Sidney, BC. 43pp. plus appendices.
Nagorsen, D. 1990. The mammals of British Columbia: a taxonomic catalogue. Mem. No. 4. Royal B.C. Mus., Victoria. 140pp.
Nagorsen, D. 1998. Mammals. in B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, Resour. Inventory Branch. 1998. The Vertebrates of British Columbia: Scientific and English Names. Standards for Components of British Columbia's Biodiversity, No. 2. Version. 2.0. Resour. Inventory Comm. Victoria, BC. 119pp.
Nagorsen, D.W., and M.A. Fraker. 1998. Chipmunks (Tamias) in the Kootenay Region of southeastern British Columbia: results of 1997 field studies. Unpubl. rep. prepared by TerraMar Environ. Res. Ltd., Sidney, BC. for Columbia Basin Fish and Wildl. Comp. Program, Nelson, BC.

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Suggested Citation:

B.C. Conservation Data Centre. 2014. Conservation Status Report: Neotamias minimus selkirki. B.C. Minist. of Environment. Available: (accessed Apr 5, 2020).