Actor Patrick Stewart may hold many awards, but what he does not have is a world record. Thankfully for him, his namesake, a mouse named Patrick Stewart, has finally entered the league of Guinness World Records holders. Patrick, being almost 10 years old, exceeds a mouse’s average age. It is just two years older than the previous Guinness Award holder in the same category, Ian McKellen.
Patrick Stewart’s Family History
Pat, the Pacific pocket mouse, is the smallest mouse species in North America. It was born on the 14th of July, 2013 to two wild-caught parents during the first year of the San Diego Zoo and Wildlife Center’s work to preserve endangered species. For more than 20 years, it was assumed that this pocket rodent vanished until a small remaining population emerged in 1994 in California. Debra Shier, Associate Director of the Recovery Ecology Department at the San Diego Zoo, stated that Patrick Stewart had been paired with different females to produce his line many times. Still, things didn’t go according to plan and Pat failed to produce offspring.
The Pacific Pocket Mouse
The species weighs as much as three pennies and gets its name from the pouches in its cheeks that carry food and nesting materials. As small as these mice are, they play quite a crucial role in the ecosystem by circulating the seeds of native plants and stimulating plant growth through their digging movements. The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance explains that receiving the Guinness Award is a real win for this small, almost extinct species. Because of habitat degradation and human intrusion, there was a drastic population decline in Patrick Stewart’s species. That’s when the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance introduced a conservation, breeding, and reintroduction program in 2012 to help save the species from lifetime extinction. Such efforts to augment population numbers are critical for preserving this species.