December 2008 Archives

The Axolotl and the Hellbender are aquatic, salamander species both with unique conservation issues. Between the two, the Axolotl is a little more unfortunate, at least when it comes to survival in it's native habitat. The Axolotl is only found in a polluted lake system (Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco) filled with invasive species outside of Mexico City and once gone it may never be able to return to its native habitat. Axolotl conservation in it's native habitat has been focused more on education than any other means. The Hellbender has a better chance at survival in its native habitat. Water quality is decent throughout its range in the southern United States and it's range is large compared to the Axolotl. Even though the Axolotl's habitat is much more degraded there is not much chance of extinction since it's used in science labs throughout the world. Now a conservation group is attempting to give the Hellbender a similar chance by raising them within a lab. The Ron Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation at the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute in conjunction with The Missouri Department of Conservation are planning to breed the salamander in captivity for release later in the wild. Hopefully, with sustained water quality and habitat preservation, the Hellbender will survive in it's native habitat. The outlook for the Axolotl is far more grim.

more salamanders and wine info

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As a coincidence to my post last Tuesday on a California winery doing good for salamanders, while reading Educating Peter, a book on wine basics, I came across a note regarding exceptional wine from a NY winery named Red Newt Cellars. Red Newt Cellars isn't as large or mention being as engaged environmentally as Kendall-Jackson but it's nice to see the newt on the bottle and they do provide some education on the Red-spotted Newt and even named their 2005 Red Blend "Viridescens" after the Newt's scientific name.