California nature preserve gives animals ‘best chance of survival’

TEHACHAPI (AP) — Cougars, eagles, salamanders and other protected animals will have room to roam without the threat of encroaching development thanks to a vast new nature preserve that creates a wildlife corridor connecting northern and southern California .

the Randall Reserve covers more than 112 square miles connecting a patchwork of ranches across the southern Sierra Nevada and Tehachapi Mountains that will serve as a “biodiversity hotspot,” the Nature Conservancy announced last week.

The reserve is the largest ever assembled in California by the nonprofit environmental organization. Its topography ranges from desert to rolling grasslands to pine forest.

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“This area is also one of the most important in North America because by connecting northern and southern California, it helps complete an intact network of open land from Canada to Mexico,” the Nature Conservancy said in a statement. a statement.

The project cost $65 million, with all but $15 million donated by philanthropists Frank and Joan Randall.

It will allow the relocation of rare, threatened and endangered animals that have been threatened by habitat loss, fragmentation and extreme weather events.

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“Protecting this huge area ensures that 28 sensitive species across California, including slender salamanders, condors, legless lizards, golden eagles, primrose hawkmoths, cougars, badgers and several plants in endangered and blue oaks, have the best chance of survival,” the statement said.

As part of the preserve, the Nature Conservancy said it will work with state transportation officials to create a system of wildlife crossings over and under select mountain roads to further facilitate the safe movement of wildlife. animals in the area.

In addition to the Randalls’ money, the preserve has been funded by public and private donors, including the Wildlife Conservation Board, Department of the Navy, CalTrans, Resources Legacy Fund, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and National Fish and Wildlife. Foundation.

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