California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense).
The California Fish and Game Commission has formally designated the California tiger salamander
) as a candidate for threatened or endangered status under the California Endangered Species Act.
Candidate species receive many of the same legal protections as endangered or threatened species while a yearlong status review is conducted. A final listing determination for the salamander is due in February 2010.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned the commission, 95 percent of California’s vernal pools, which A. californiense uses for breeding, have been lost in recent decades, and at least 75 percent of the salamander’s habitat throughout the state has been eliminated.
“The candidate designation sets the listing process back on the right track and should ultimately result in the tiger salamander getting the state-protected status it deserves,” said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Every expert biologist who studies the California tiger salamander has weighed in and recommended the species be listed.”