Conservationists at Chester Zoo have successfully bred one of the world’s rarest amphibians in a bid to save it from extinction – the first time the feat has ever been achieved outside the species’ native Catalonia.
Twelve Montseny newts, one of the most endangered species in Europe, have hatched at the zoo where a team of experts are helping to ensure the continued survival of the critically endangered population – ahead of a future release into the Montseny mountain range in north-eastern Catalonia.
The mountains, which are approximately 100km north of Barcelona, are the only place where wild Montseny newts live.
Dr Gerardo Garcia, the zoo’s Curator of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates, said:
Montseny newts are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Recent estimates indicate no more than 1,500 remain in an area less than eight km2.
They are one of the two most threatened amphibians in Europe together with the Karpathos frog (Pelophylax cerigensis), a frog endemic to the Greek island of Karpathos.
Francesc Carbonell Buira, Biologist for the Government of Catalonia, added: