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Sat, Feb

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Consider Salamander for Federal Protection

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reviewed a petition to add the Tehachapi slender salamander (Batrachoseps stebbinsi)to the federal list of threatened and endangered species and concluded the petition contains substantial information to indicate that listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) may be warranted.

LOS ANGELES— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that the Tehachapi slender salamander could warrant federal Endangered Species Act protection due to the destruction of its very limited habitat in the Tehachapi mountains and southern Sierras of California. The salamander now lives primarily on Tejon Ranch, the massive, privately owned biodiversity gem north of Los Angeles.

"The Tehachapi slender salamander has taken a beating in the northern part of its range, while its southern range is now threatened by proposed developments on Tejon Ranch," said Ileene Anderson, a Center for Biological Diversity biologist. "This very rare animal needs immediate protection."

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The Tehachapi slender salamander is known from only two populations. One in Caliente Canyon in the southern Sierras and one in the Tehachapi Mountains entirely on Tejon Ranch. Development plans on Tejon Ranch threaten five of the known locations of the secretive salamander. The salamander is also threatened by road construction, mining, livestock grazing, and flood-control projects. It has, for example, been eliminated from the Tehachapi Pass area due to highway construction.

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