For Immediate Release, May 8, 2007
||Ileene Anderson, Center for Biological Diversity, (323) 490-0223
Jennifer Robinson, Sierra Club Angeles Chapter, (213) 387-4287 x 204
Condors not Condos:
Conservationists Take Their Message to Tejon Ranch Stockholders
IRVINE, Calif.— On Tuesday May 8, 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club hosted a rally in front of the Hyatt Regency Hotel aimed at encouraging stockholders in the Tejon Ranch Corporation to consider the benefits of preserving Tejon Ranch as a state or national park. Tejon Ranch has been identified as having habitat that is critical for the protection and recovery of endangered California condors by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Stockholders have an amazing opportunity to preserve one of California’s last wild treasures, emulating the great foresight and wisdom of visionaries like John Muir who worked to create Yosemite National Park,” said Jennifer Robinson, conservation coordinator for the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter. “Tejon Ranch is Southern California’s last chance to preserve such a magnificent legacy for future generations. Once it’s lost, it’s lost forever.”
Tejon Ranch encompasses 270,000 acres, an area one-third the size of the state of Rhode Island. The Ranch lies between Los Angeles and Bakersfield, near the Grapevine on Interstate 5, and is the largest contiguous parcel left in California. The land is a key linkage connecting southern California’s natural spaces and is at the only biogeographic crossroads in California to connect four very different geographic regions: the Sierra Nevadas, the south coastal ranges, the great San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert.
While the Tejon Ranch Corporation has a series of plans for new cities and resort communities on its property, conservation organizations know that unbridled development, as proposed, will doom the quintessential California landscapes and the plants and animals that currently live there, including the endangered California condor. Conservationists were joined at the event by a family of life-sized California condor replicas to remind stockholders that the Tejon Ranch Company’s proposal to build vacation homes in critical condor habitat could be devastating to these extraordinary, prehistoric-looking creatures.
“Eminent conservation biologists who have studied Tejon Ranch indicate that 246,000 acres are crucial for preservation of the landscape and linkages," said Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. "The stockholders need to look not at short-term financial gain, but instead long-term gains that include leaving a lasting legacy to all Californians."