Salamanders Are Pretty Awesome…But They may Be in big Trouble

Ryan Means releases bucket full of striped newts into Pond.

By Doug Parsons, North America Policy Director, Society for Conservation Biology

On recent visit with my two young sons to the National Zoo here in Washington, D.C., I pleaded with them to make a quick detour to look at the pandas. My 11-year-old scoffed, and made a beeline for the Blink and you Miss It exhibit for the Japanese giant salamanders. Slimy, small and cold-blooded as they are, salamanders don’t always evoke the same “warm and fuzzy” response from many zoo-goers as the larger and more charismatic mammal species.

I asked my son why he was so fascinated by these odd little creatures. Some of his responses included “They eat bugs,” “they look so cool!” and my favorite: “I don’t know, they’re just awesome!” Finally, he said something that I think gets to the heart of what makes these small, elusive creatures so special: “I like that I can find them outside of the zoo.” My son has spent many hours lifting up logs and rocks looking for salamanders, even around our neighborhood. They are uniquely accessible for many people in North America, if you only know where to look. Nothing inspires a lifelong love of wildlife like the childhood discovery of —> Read More Here


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