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California Newt ((Taricha torosa)) population.

CaNewtReps

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Well, it has been 3 years since we started breeding and introducing California Newts back into their native habitat in southern California. Happy to say, we have had great success and our work is done (for now). There is even more work on getting areas preserved for wildlife, and the real danger is loss of habitat. There is not much we can do on that front, due to the fact that California has continued to cut more and more funding to Fish and Game. It seems like if there are any more cuts, there won't be a CA Fish and Game, only an online book of regulations and a store to get fishing/hunting permits.

But here is a video I am happy to be able to share. This is a creek, in southern California. This is only one small section of the 40 mile creek, but it is one of my favorite spots, and I am finally allowed to share it with the community, and I thought that on this forum it would be particularly enjoyed.

Safe to say, our breeding program has a foundation, and is now at an end for the time being. Captive raised eggs, tadpoles, and young of Taricha torosa will be available in the near future. I have been able to observe some wonderful things this year. Many females laying eggs in the wild, and females mating and laying eggs in captivity!

I hope you enjoy this video.

California Newts in their natural habitat. - YouTube
 

Jennewt

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Neat! Was this project carried out by Fish & Game?
 

CaNewtReps

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Neat! Was this project carried out by Fish & Game?

Yes it was. Headed by me, and all volunteers. This particular national forest has only 1 Fish and Game Ranger to cover the 1,000s of square miles it contains. Volunteers are scarce, and now there was a recent cut back from California which not only laid off employees and Rangers, but also volunteers! It might seem strange to lay off people who are not paid, but if they don't have enough experience they are let go, which is upsetting. Just because I have a degree in biology, focused on herpetology, there are others in the program that have more experience than me whom I still have a lot to learn from yet they were kicked out. Seems unfair but that is how it is.......... doesn't mean I don't keep them in the loop and they may help out, 'after hours' :)
 

supergrappler

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It's nice to see that your efforts are paying off! It's nice to see that this vital chain in the eco system is successfully being restored in Southern California. T. torosa are one of my favorite caudates and I truly applaud you for bringing them back home!
 

CaNewtReps

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How sad it is for me to look back at this video and then hike up to this spot. It's more like a desert now.

California has had the worst weather in ages. The almost non existent rain has led to massive habitat loss in the last 2 years. The last 2 years have been worse than the last 100, but the habitat of T. torosa has ways of enduring, and is almost as hardy as the long lived newts themselves.

The mountain ranges in which torosa live have a key advantage over other mountain ranges in so cal, and thus show how the ecology has allowed these newts to thrive then survive. The only mountain range you can find torosa are steep, and 3-10 miles from the ocean as the crow flies. This allows the hot thermals of the mostly rock mountains to pull in a heavy dew and marine layer off the ocean at night, or at any point the temperatures flux. This small amount of water proves to be enough to sustain the newts from extinction. Even though their habitat has gotten almost no water, it has a way of keeping it's inhabitants alive. Over the next 2 years it will be interesting to see how far the limits of the ecosystem can go, but hopefully that interest will not be satisfied.

There has been so much knowledge gained from this study it's uncanny. I wish I could sit here and type out 20 pages on how much has been gained by studying these ultra hardy yet very fragile creatures.

The study continues and projects advance as the seasons go by. The torosa teach us so much more than amphibians, but everything you find in their forest home. While I don't visit this site often for reasons of my own, I still think everyone would love to see an update on the work. You will see an associate of mine posting pictures and updates. Some pretty amazing stuff that has never been seen by the public before so I hope you enjoy what is to come!
 

matsuki

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When I was in primary school, raising firebellies, one of my classmates have me a Taricha torosa. One of about 8 they had collected in a stream, somewhere on Mt. Baldy. I'm in my early 30's now so that was quite a long time ago but according to her description, there was quite a large population there.

The Taricha torosa was honestly my favorite newt I've ever raised. It was always active, friendly, and lived for about 15 years afterwards. Would be awesome to see captive bred available as they seem to make really great and hardy pets.
 

RugMuscle

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I understand this was not the focus of the study but have you happened to notice what species of fish seem to thrive in those streams, and whether those vary with drought?
 
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