UC Botanical Garden asking for help to save newts dying in pond

The garden is hoping to raise $150,000 to repair the 80-year-old pond.

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Saturday, June 17, 2023
UC Botanical Garden ask for help to save dying newts
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UC Botanical Garden is asking for donations to help to save newts that are dying after getting stuck in cracks at the bottom of the pond.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- You might not know it walking through the quiet pathways, but the UC Botanical Garden is currently in a race against time. And it's all because of newts.

"We know they've been breeding here for probably at least 40 years," said Paul Licht.

Licht has been studying newts for over six decades. He says the 80-year-old pond that the newts come to mate in every year is in a state of disrepair.

It's gotten so bad that garden staff members have even found some newts dead after getting stuck in cracks at the bottom of the pond.

Now, the garden is now raising money to create a new habitat for the newts says the garden's Andrew Doran.

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"We expect to start by slowly draining it down, then collecting the newts, moving the adults and the larvae to tanks," Doran said.

After that, all of the cracks will be filled and an entirely new pond put down.

But the garden has a narrow time frame to get all of this done. They're hoping to start the repairs in August and have them completed by September.

Without the new pond, Licht says the local newt population could suffer permanent damage.

He believes many of them simply wouldn't know where to go come mating season.

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"How many will find another pond? We don't know. Those are unknowns," he said.

The garden is hoping to raise $150,000.

They've even created a 'Save Our Newts' campaign on their website where people can go to donate money.

Doran says, so far, the outpouring of support has been sensational, and they're thanking the community as their hope to reach their final goal.

"It's a treasure that we're hoping to conserve and we very much appreciate the public support," he said.

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