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E: Environment, Enrichment,
Education, & Endangered Species

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Twenty-seven new species were recently discovered in caves of Sequoia National Park in California. The discovery of our animal_s_ of the month were officially announced in January of 2006.

Animal of the Month
New Species Discovered in Sequoia National Park

Twenty-seven species of cave dwellers have been discovered in dark, damp caves in two national parks located in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The assortment of species include spiders, centipedes and a variety of other creatures.

Joel Despain, one of the cave specialists who participated in the exploration of some of the caves in Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park explained that the creatures were new to science and adapted specifically to the cave environments with some adapted and confined to one specific location within the caves.

There are 238 known caves in the two national parks. Park officials will adopt specific protocols to protect the caves but most are not accessible to the public and only permitted researchers or experienced explores can gain access.

The discovery of new species of mammals of birds is not as common as the discovery of smaller animals. Caves, remote locations and the ocean depths remain difficult to access and as these new realms are explored, they often reveal new findings.

Each species will need to be studied so that details of their longevity, reproductive habits, adaptations, preferred environment, and dietary needs can be identified. The creatures will then be categorized within the scientific nomenclature so that they can be accurately places within the continuum of living organisms.

The discovery expedition was led by Zara Environmental, a firm based in Austin, Texas.

About the columnist: Since 1978 Diana L. Guerrero has worked professionally with both wild and domestic animals. Guerrero has been affiliated with, and certified by, a variety of animal programs in the USA and Europe. Based in California, she writes, consults, and speaks. Information on her animal career programs, training courses, and her books {What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality (SkyLight Paths, 2003), Blessing of the Animals (Sterling, 2007), Help! My Pet is Driving Me Crazy (Guerrero Ink, 2007), Animal Disaster Preparedness for Pet Owners & Pet Professionals (Guerrero Ink, 2007)} can be found in this web site and in the shop. Questions for Guerrero should be submitted via the blog comments or membership forum.


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