Friday, 24 November 2017

Chester Zoo successfully breeds rare Catalan newt

Twelve Montseny newts – one of world’s rarest amphibians - hatched as part of joint breeding project with Catalan authorities

Stacee Smith
Friday 17 November 2017 15.06 GMTLast modified on Friday 17 November 2017 15.50 GMT

Conservationists at Chester Zoo have successfully bred one of the world’s rarest amphibians – the Catalan newt – in an attempt to save it from extinction.

The zoo is the first organisation outside Catalonia to become involved in the breeding project for the newt, the rarest amphibian in Europe.

The critically endangered species, also known as the wild Montseny newt, is from the Montseny mountain range in north-eastern Catalonia, about 60 miles (100km) north of Barcelona.

The recovery plan is a joint effort between Chester Zoo, the Barcelona provincial council, the Catalan government and Barcelona Zoo.

As part of the plan, 12 Montseny newts have hatched at Chester Zoo, where a team of experts are working to ensure their continued survival before they are released into the wild.

Experts at Chester have created a purpose-built breeding facility for the newts, away from all other amphibians housed at the zoo to ensure their bio-security.

In parallel with the breeding programme, conservation efforts are also being made to improve the newts’ natural habitat in preparation for their reintroduction – including improving the water quality and ecological flow of the streams they live in.

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