Did you know?
New Jersey has over 70 endangered and threatened species.
Headstart program for Eastern Tiger Salamanders
The Eastern Tiger Salamander Headstart Program was started in 2011 as a partnership between NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, Cape May County Zoo, Conserve Wildlife Foundation, and the Association of Zoos & Aquarium.
Historically, eastern tiger salamanders ranged from southern New York to northern Florida along the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Remaining eastern populations are disjunct and declining; the species is state endangered in NY, NJ, DE, MD, and VA and has already been extirpated in PA. New Jersey's Cape May populations may represent best chance of preventing complete extirpation from the Mid-Atlantic region.
In New Jersey eastern tiger salamanders are limited to 15 breeding pools in Cape May County, one-third of which are at risk of inundation from sea-level rise in the next 100 years. Together with NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, we constructed new vernal pools in upland areas that are above potential sea-level rise. Since their construction, some of these pools have been successfully colonized by eastern tiger salamanders. By increasing connectivity and creating metapopulations, we hope to assist the migration of these vernal-pool communities towards higher ground.
In 2011 NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, Cape May County Zoo, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and CWF launched a pilot headstarting program to increase egg and larval survivorship of eastern tiger salamanders. These headstarted larvae were released into the constructed vernal pools in Cape May. Due to the inherent difficulties of raising wild animals in captivity and releasing them into native populations, CWF was unable to quantify the results of this program.