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Yosemite toad
Stockton Record, July 16, 2009

Conservation groups offering $1,500 reward

SONORA - Several conservation groups are offering a $1,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of motorcyclists who vandalized a pristine alpine meadow, jeopardizing a population of the rare Yosemite toad and disrupting years of research scientists had been conducting on the creature.

Scientists arrived at Groundhog Meadow near Herring Creek above Pinecrest on June 24 to see people hurriedly loading motorcycles into the back of a blue pickup. The meadow, they discovered, had been damaged by motorcycle tires.

The cuts allowed the meadow's shallow waters to drop, preventing Yosemite toad tadpoles and eggs from surviving to maturity.

The Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the Center for Biological Diversity joined to offer the $1,500 reward.

The research at Groundhog Meadow is part of a five-year study being conducted by University of California and U.S. Forest Service scientists at a number of locations, including sites in Yosemite National Park.

Anyone with information on the identity of the vandals is asked to contact the California Fish and Game Environmental Crime Hotline at (888) 334-2258 or the Stanislaus National Forest at (209) 532-3671. Anyone wanting to contribute additional reward money is asked to call Karen Schambach of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility at (530) 333-2545.

Copyright 2009 San Joaquin Media Group

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton