‘Lost’ Salamander Rediscovered After 42 Years

Nov 1, 2017

By Stephanie Pappas

A lost species of salamander has been rediscovered alive and well in Guatemala.

The Jackson’s Climbing Salamander (Bolitoglossa jacksoni), a brilliant yellow-and-black amphibian, was last seen in 1975 and feared extinct. But this month, a guard at the Finca San Isidro Amphibian Reserve (also called the Yal Unin Yul Witz Reserve) in the Cuchumatanes Mountains spotted a juvenile of the species while out on patrol. The guard, Ramos León, snapped a photo and sent it to Carlos Vasquez, a curator of herpetology at USAC University in Guatemala, who confirmed its identity.

Vasquez himself had spent more than 3,000 hours hunting for the salamander since 2005, and trained León and his fellow guards on how to search for it.

“We had started to fear that the species was gone, and now it’s like it has come back from extinction,” he said. “It’s a beautiful story and marks a promised future for the conservation of this special region.”

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