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The Story Behind the 'Most Wanted' T-Shirt

In 1975, an expedition from UC Berkeley went to Guatemala's Cuchumatanes Mountains (on the border with Mexico) surveying for amphibians. An undergraduate at the time, Paul Elias found a large striking-looking salamander in a log in a recently clear-cut area on the edge of pristine forest. Everyone knew it was a new species right away. Nothing described yet looked like this robust salamander with its deep-yellow-orangish belly and dark stripe down its back. Two specimens were collected and brought back to Berkeley, and were subsequently described as a new species, Bolitoglossa jacksoni, aka Jackson's Climbing Salamander. Soon after, biodiversity work in Guatemala had to be put on hold due to the political strife in the 80's and only recently have biologists returned to study this area with Guatemalan colleagues. So far, this salamander has not been seen again despite several trips to the area. In 2014, this region of still primary forest has been declared one of the largest protected areas in Guatemala due to its high biodiversity, including many threatened amphibian species like Bolitoglossa jacksoni.

You can read about a recent field trip to the same area with Paul Elias and Jeremy Jackson (the namesake of the Most Wanted salamander) where they hoped to find it again in Robin Moore's blog here.

The T-shirt was made to raise awareness and funds, give as gifts to our Guatemalan friends and print out paper copies to leave in the area with locals who can continue the search. Any help to raise its profile will help our efforts in amphibian conservation!

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