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Posted by kerry on January 10, 2002 at 19:02:24:
In Reply to: Thanks Kerry.............and get ready for this....... posted by Kevin Earley on January 10, 2002 at 18:24:21:
: I can't imagine how depressing that must have been to know that there was a "stable" population in this area and then watch developement just wipe it out.
: Some questions..
: 1. The marker in the photo is that part of the construction site or where you had observed him the previous year.
****** It was a property line marker set in place in 1993. A chain-link fence with 2' of hardware cloth(to keep the small Desert Tortoises in the area out) at ground level now runs through the wash. I watched this lizard scale the hardware cloth and go through the chain-link like it was second nature!
: 2. What is your "guesstimation" (I don't think its really a word but your best guess) as to the rate of increase in body mass over the time period that you observed him.
****** Maybe 25% since 1992. He doesn't appear to be much longer(maybe an inch), but is noticably heavier. He was quite thin in 1992. I estimate his length now at about 20" or slightly less... one big boy.
: 3. Do you believe that there is only 3-4 remaining residents because they were destroyed by the construction (crushed in the building etc.) or because now that the habitat has changed will it only support this many. In other words less habitat means less shelter, food, etc. It is my opinion that a "habitat" can only sustain a balanced population no more no less unless artificially stimulated. Do you feel the others died off gradually and only the strongest (or luckiest) survived.
****** All of the above, but most disappearing within the first couple of years. My estimate of how many others may be around was determined by the amount of "sign"(sorry, not appropriate to define on the web) I found. Since I didn't actually see them, I don't know if any of them could be animals displaced.
: 4. Have you been able to observe any other gilas in the field over this long of a period (8-9 years). What is your guesstimation (again) of the average life span in the wild. I know what it is in captivity but most animals (if properly cared for) will live longer in captivity than in the wild (more food on a "regular" basis, less predators, etc)
****** No, this is the longest, but I DID find two lizards that had been marked previous to 1983 for a research project conducted in another area here. That was in 1992, Believe it or not, I saw one of these two again in 1994. According to the literature they both were full grown adults when marked, so I estimate they were over 15 years old when I saw them.
: I think that is enough questions for now (at least until I can think of more).
: I really appreciate the photo and the information.
****** Thanks for asking!!!