"Warming Could Endanger Va.'s Mountain Wildlife"

"Marion, Va. -- In a fragrant forest near the top of Virginia's second-highest mountain, Kevin Hamed flipped some birch bark and found a living treasure.

Hamed turned up a rare Weller's salamander, a 3-inch, lizard-like creature with a golden back flecked with black.

'It's an awesome animal, in my opinion,' said Hamed, a 36-year-old biologist. 'You don't see gold that often in nature.'

If the climate warms too much, you might not see this animal, either.

The Weller's salamander is found only on a few mountains where Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina meet -- including the 5,520-foot Whitetop Mountain, where Hamed was searching."

Rex Springston reports for the Richmond Times-Dispatch August 23, 2010.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010