Teen pushes recognition for Idaho giant salamander
Teen pushes recognition for Idaho giant salamander Ilah Hickman poses with a young Idaho giant salamander at the Idaho state Capitol in Boise, Idaho (AP photos)
Teen pushes recognition for Idaho giant salamander
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Some Idaho lawmakers who were worried that special recognition of the Idaho giant salamander could lead to federal protections have rejected a grade school student's request that it be named the state amphibian.

The House State Affairs Committee voted against 14-year-old Ilah Hickman's plan. It was her fifth attempt in as many years to persuade lawmakers that the salamander made a good choice for state amphibian.

"I was kind of disappointed, but either way I'm going to come back next year and push it again," Hickman told The Spokesman-Review. "I'm going to keep pushing, until it either passes or I can't get hearings anymore."

An Idaho attorney general's opinion advised lawmakers that approving the salamander as a state symbol wouldn't do anything in the way of encouraging federal protections, but lawmakers remained wary.

Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise, pointed out that designating a state symbol had nothing to do with endangered species.

"We addressed that," Ward-Engelking said. "We got an opinion from the attorney general - it was very clear. I spoke with him personally. He said no way, no how was a state symbol going to impact that whatsoever."

Frank Lundberg, a herpetologist, testified in support of the bill and was disappointed after it failed.

Idaho fourth-grade classes study state symbols as part of Idaho history, and a fourth-grade teacher backed the bill as well.

But Rep. Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, voted against the salamander after recalling being repulsed by them as a young boy.

"They were ugly, they were slimy, and they were creepy," he said. "And I've not gotten over that. So to elevate them to the status of being the state amphibian, I'm not there yet."

The Idaho giant salamander can grow to more than a foot long. Hickman told lawmakers that the salamander makes its home almost exclusively in Idaho, and noted it has skin markings that resemble a topographical map of Idaho's Bitterroot Mountains.

Critical thinking challenge: Why is the giant salamander referred to in this story called the "Idaho" giant salamader?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/teen/teen-pushes-recognition-idaho-giant-salamander/

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COMMENTS (16)
  • EmmaBender
    2/09/2015 - 01:35 p.m.

    I think it is cool that she tried to push to attempt to make a salamander the state amphibian of Idaho because it make it different from the others.

  • ratiaira
    2/09/2015 - 01:35 p.m.

    first off I think this is weird and I did not even know that there was something called state amphibian but other than that I think that it was a smart idea to take this to court even though it was her 5th time trying

  • CharismaM
    2/09/2015 - 01:50 p.m.

    I think that the salamander should be made the state amphibian. I honestly don't see the problem with it and it's unfair that it can't be made the state amphibian because someone is repulsed by it. People obviously think it would make a great symbol, especially since it has skin markings that resemble the Bitterroot Mountains

  • jacobm-Che
    2/09/2015 - 01:58 p.m.

    I've never seen a salamander up close before well besides seeing them either dead on the road or running away from me but to see a salamander this big is crazy what are they putting in the water up in Idaho still its amazing to see something this big

  • dimitrik-DiB
    2/10/2015 - 04:36 p.m.

    I think that it should be the state amphibian because she is asking a reasonable question. She is very smart because in the artical she says "salamander makes its home almost exclusively in Idaho, and noted it has skin markings that resemble a topographical map of Idaho's Bitterroot Mountains" those are some pretty good reasons to approve it.

  • Ashleypatt
    2/18/2015 - 01:56 p.m.

    There is something they must put in this water to have this salamander grow so big like this. Its cool to see something that big. But also its wasting time because one of these days its going to go missing or go gone and not be with them anymore.

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