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Slender Salamanders

WASHINGTON (CN) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has begun a review of whether the lungless Tehachapi slender salamander is a separate and distinct population from the Caliente Canyon variety.

If the population is separate, it may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. Most of the salamander's range is owned by the Tejon Ranch Company -California's largest private landowner- which has been in talks with environmentalists and the government to preserve 240,000 acres of undeveloped land owned by the company.

The service has found that there is substantial scientific or commercial information to warrant further consideration of the salamander's listing, and requests comments regarding the range, population, genetic diversity and any other factors relevant to determining the status of the salamander.

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