For the first time in Dutch history, an amphibian in our country is in danger of becoming acutely extinct; the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra). This species occurs naturally in the Netherlands at only three locations in the hills of southern Limburg, and for many years formed a stable population there consisting of many hundreds of individuals. Since 2008, however, dead newts have been found more frequently and in 2011, despite intensive monitoring, only a handful of live specimens were observed. This means that the fire salamander is currently on the verge of extinction in the Netherlands.
Therefore, RAVON started the SOS Fire salamander action plan in 2012 with the aim to save the fire salamander from extinction. This action plan provides for research into the cause of the population collapse, monitoring of the remaining population, securing the very last specimens through shelter, followed by a breeding program. The year 2013 has therefore been declared the ‘Year of the Fire Salamander’. This year, the broad action plan will be launched.
The Wildlife Fund is helping to bear the costs of research into the possible causes of the decline of the fire salamander. The intended result of the SOS Fire Salamander project is to identify the cause of the decline, if possible eliminate this cause and ensure the sustainable survival of this characteristic and special species in the Netherlands.