diet coke for breakfast

Friday, November 28, 2003

Posted by Jake
Tunnels of Love

Stanford = PCU. And it has reached the notice of the Weekly Standard.

Stanford Campus Biologists and students have teamed up in a daring new rescue effort--to save the tiger salamander. Natives of the Stanford area, the salamander migrate yearly to nearby Lake Lagunita to breed. The migration route takes them across the busy streets of Junipero Serra Boulevard and Campus Drive East. Some of the salamander become road kill, which greatly concerns biologists, since California tiger salamander are nearly an endangered population.

Their solution? Salamander tunnels! Construction crews are currently working to install three metal tunnels under the road so salamander can move on to breed in peace and safety. One tunnel was installed in 2001 as a test for effectiveness. The Stanford community got the idea from the Germans, who have built tunnels for badgers, and the British, who did the same for toads. In fact, the new tunnels have come specially ordered from England. Other scientists in California have installed salamander tunnels as well.


Dr. Sean Anderson, head of the salamander project, claims that "compared to historic numbers, the population is definitely down," although he admits some might hold a different view: In recent years, Stanford's salamander population has remained steady at 500 to 2,400 adults each year.

The tunnel project will cost around $100,000, which Stanford will fund in toto. "It's Stanford's way of trying to be a good steward over the land," says Anderson.

The ponds and tunnels will soon be finished and the salamander can live and breed in safety--if they so choose. One wonders what Stanford will choose as its next environmental project. Perhaps overpasses for the squirrels?

Ah, I have such fond memories of our alma mater. It warms the cockles of my heart how in spite of current budget crises and progressive scaling back of important traditions, the Stanford administration can still find $100,000 for an amphibian highway. If the little buggers weren't smart enough to get across the road, why should we believe they will be smart enough to navigate your little tunnels?

This is why if the Alumni Association ever call me up, I am telling them to get their money from the salamander.


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