April 2009 Archives

The amount of land that the Tejon Ranch Company holds is large, very large, and a significant portion of the land is prime for development. According to the Tejon Ranch Company Web site, the ranch is nearly 270,000 acres (422 square miles), the largest contiguous expanse of private land in California - larger than the City of Los Angeles - and about 40% the size of Rhode Island. Future development projects include a resort, industrial complex and a sustainable new town community. The Tehachapi Slender Salamander is only found in a small region of California, small enough that it is found almost no where else but within land held by the Tejon Ranch Company.

Because most of the known Tehachapi Slender Salamander population occurred within the Tejon Ranch company land and high potential for development on that land, in 2006, Jeremy Nichols petitioned the government to list the salamander as an endangered species. According to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, any citizen may petition the government to list a species as endangered or threatened. Jeremy's petition presented substantial information on the distribution, biology and threats to the species and due to his petition on April 22, 2009 US Fish and Wildlife Service completed a 90-day finding on the salamander. Based on information from the 90-day finding, The Service will conduct a 12-month finding to determine if the salamander will be listed as threatened or endangered.

illustration by Daniel Mitsui

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Daniel Mitsui, a freelance illustrator in Chicago, has displayed on his blog a beautifully detailed illustration based on the crucifixion of Christ. The illustration includes "four small figures which represent the elements" including one figure holding an unburning salamander. Not surprising as salamanders throughout history have often been used to symbolize the element of fire. The background detail is astonishing with many, varied images including skulls, frogs, planaria and crabs that enhance the larger images of the crucifixion.
The town of Columbia, South Carolina is unveiling a new interactive walking tour using the theme of the South Carolina state amphibian, the spotted salamander. Stops on the interactive tour are marked by numbered, bronze statues of the spotted salamander. The tour, named Sally Salamander, opens officially on Saturday, April 25 with family-friendly games, activities and prizes. Is it just me or does the Sally Salamander logo have a resemblance to the TSMP logo?
While viewing accepted proposals at the Citizen-based Monitoring Network of Wisconsin (apparently they made $100,000 available in 2008), I noticed a successful proposal to monitor salamanders, supposedly the only project monitoring salamanders in Wisconsin. Run by the Wisconsin Audubon Council, the salamander monitoring began in 2008 using funnel traps to collect adult salamanders during the Spring.