(CBS Local) — A nature preserve guard in Guatemala made history while on his lunch break when he spotted a creature that biologists had lost track of for 42 years.
Ramos León-Tomás, a 27-year-old guard at the Finca San Isidro Amphibian Reserve, reportedly found the long-lost Jackson’s Climbing Salamander while on his break near the edge of the park in October. The rediscovered species has not been seen since a pair of salamanders was first found in western Guatemala by two American students in 1975.
“We had started to fear that the species was gone, and now it’s like it has come back from extinction. It’s a beautiful story, and marks a promised future for the conservation of this special region,” USAC University in Guatemala’s Carlos Vasquez said in a press release. “I explained to them how important this species is and I left a poster there so they could see a picture of the Jackson’s climbing salamander every single day.”
“This rediscovery can only be a good omen for the future of the Search for Lost Species campaign. It’s a sign that if we get out there and work at it, many of these species can be found and saved,” president of Global Wildlife Conservation, Don Church added.
The discovery was made even more amazing by the report that the amphibian was spotted nearly 1,000 feet higher than biologists had been looking for them. The original salamanders were discovered under tree bark in Guatemala’s Sierra de los Cuchumatanes. León-Tomás added that he hopes the historic find will bring added recognition and pay for the guards at the reserve.