The picture shows a fire salamander from the front.

Fire Salamander in trouble

Projects

An epidemic is wiping out entire populations of our native fire salamander. We can save it if we intervene: through quarantine, therapy, conservation breeding. Now.

Projects

An epidemic is wiping out entire populations of our native fire salamander. We can save it if we intervene: through quarantine, therapy, conservation breeding. Now.

Bad start into the new millennium for Europe's Fire Salamander

A new type of fungus on the skin of amphibians was discovered in the Netherlands only a few years ago: Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, or Bsal in short. The translation of its name clearly spells out the danger it poses: the salamander devourer. It is spreading at breakneck speed among European caudates. While newts overall seem to be less affected, an infection is almost certain to be fatal for fire salamanders. Entire populations are threatened by extinction.

Where did the fungus epidemic come from?

It is assumed that Bsal originates in East Asia and found its way into Europe through the trade with Asian newts. It could, however, also have travelled with aquatic plants or in a moist clump of clay: put simply, we do not know. What we do know is this: it will stay. And spread further – with devastating consequences. Bsal got into open nature somewhere in the tri-border region between Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium at the beginning of the 2000s. From here, the fungus moved towards the East and seized the Ruhr area. By summer of 2020, it had eventually managed to make a giant leap across 500 kilometers and appeared at several locations in Bavaria.

Where did the fungus epidemic come from?

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans © Frank Pasmans, Uni Gent

A graphic showing the spread of Bsal in Europe, the fungus that threatens the fire salamander.

The fungus leads to regional extinction of the fire salamander

Bsal afflicts the delicate skin of the amphibians. It feeds on keratins and sprawls so massively that it ultimately leads to an outright suffocation of the animals. External skin damage becomes apparent only at an advanced stage, and by this time it is usually already too late. For fire salamanders, an infection with Bsal almost inevitably leads to death. In other words: in regions where the fungus appears, the fire salamander is effectively being extinguished.

Extinction can be prevented

The good news: Bsal is treatable. For fungus and amphibian have something in common: neither of them like high temperatures. In contrast to the fungus, though, fire salamanders can deal with higher temperatures quite well for a certain while. This, precisely, is the key: if infected animals are placed in a heat chamber at a minimum of 25°C over a period of two weeks, Bsal dies and the amphibian can recover. However, it is not possible to release it back into its forest immediately, as the fungus still lurks there. For now, it is entirely unclear how long this threat will remain in the habitat, whether the salamanders will be able to develop an immune response and how one can best support them in such process. Until these questions are answered, they can only survive in human custody, like on an ark.

Three steps for the rescue

How arks can be designed

To save not only individual fire salamanders, but the entire species, you need a few arks. Putting all your eggs in one basket, for example keeping all the animals in one location, may be economically efficient, but the risk of all the animals being affected in a local disaster is far too great. There are also different ways to design such an ark, especially if you want to preserve the fire salamander’s diversity. Genetic diversity plays a central role here, as this has already been studied reasonably well. But what about, for example, the diversity of bacteria and other microorganisms that fire salamanders have in their gut or on their skin?

To have as many options as possible for the future, we need a network of arks. What this might look like, what to consider, where to start, and more is what we have put together on behalf of the Species Assistance Program for the Fire Salamander in Bavaria. This blueprint can easily be adapted for other regions. If you like, you can take a look at the german study here.

The salamander devourer on film

Author Susann Knakowske accompanied scientists, conservationists and animal owners on film for over a year. It wasn’t planned, it just turned out that way. Because neither Corona nor the Bsal jump to Bavaria were on the filming schedule when we began preparations for a fire salamander documentary at the end of 2019. And this story is far from over. But the first film is ready and gives an overview of the state of affairs regarding salamander eaters in spring 2021.

Every donation helps us further expand our network for endangered species

Establishing and coordinating conservational breeding of fire salamanders is key to their salvation. Citizen Conservation has set its aim on precisely such action, working to drastically increase the number of shelters in human custody for threatened animals – we will need these safe zones. Here and now for our endemic fire salamander.

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Our donation account

Citizen Conservation
GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG
DE38 4306 0967 1271 7068 00
BIC: GENODEM1GLS

Donate directly via PayPal:
Donate with PayPal

The extinction of species is threatening our livelihoods. Citizen Conservation unites scientific expertise with engagement by civil society. Together, we can master the challenge.

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      The picture shows a frog sitting on a smartphone. It is the teaser image on the Wild at Home page.

      Wild at Home

      Projects

      A platform for animal management and networking with other species conservationists: The beta version of "Wild at Home" is online.

       

      Projects

      A platform for animal management and networking with other species conservationists: The beta version of "Wild at Home" is online.

      With the loss of biodiversity, wildlife populations in human care are taking on an increasingly important role. Animals of a large number of species are kept and bred in aquariums, terrariums and aviaries with enormous dedication, passion and expertise by both private and institutional keepers – these populations can be of great importance for species conservation. One of the challenges here is their coordination. It is possible for individuals to save species from extinction in the short term, but to conserve them in the long term requires a coordinated network of species conservationists.

      Communication, querying and managing data, documenting transfers – this takes a lot of time and must be accurately maintained by hand. Out of the desire to make animal management more sustainable and efficient for everyone, “Wild at Home” was born, and with it the idea of making better use of existing knowledge for the benefit of species conservation.

       

      The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action was also convinced of this project and supported the development of “Wild at Home” through the “IGP – Innovation Program for Business Models and Pioneer Solutions”. The project received further support from the IT agency marmalade GmbH, which additionally supported the platform development with financial resources and also contributed technical expertise.

      The photo shows the logos of the supporters of Wild at Home, sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and the IT agency marmalade.

      “Wild at Home” – sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and supported by marmalade GmbH.

      The image shows a graphic of Wild at Home and illustrates that the platform combines the areas of monitoring, networking and coordination.

      Monitoring, networking and coordination – all under one roof. © Jonas Lieberknecht

      The network for all wildlife keepers: "Wild at Home"

      Platform for wildlife management and knowledge exchange in one: The current beta version of “Wild at Home” (WaH) is the first step in this direction. In the future, the web app will enable private keepers as well as zoos, breeding communities and other institutions to manage and coordinate their populations. At the same time, WaH offers space for exchange among each other.

      The goal: A broad monitoring of species in human hands, which allows to react to disappearing wild animal populations in nature as well as in human care, as well as a continuous improvement of animal husbandry in terms of animal welfare.

      Access to WaH is currently password protected. If you have any questions about the platform, are interested in test participation or in using WaH, please feel free to write to u: WaH |at| frogs-friends.org.

      Password protected access to “Wild at Home”: Follow the link.

      Impressions from "Wild at Home"

      Coming soon

      “Wild at Home” is functional, now we want to expand and improve the existing functionalities step by step. Important topics here are, for example, the expansion of the platform for breeding programs or the gathering and provision of knowledge. We will be happy to keep you up to date via WaH |at| frogs-friends.org.

      A selection of species that can already be managed in "Wild at Home"

      Contact

      Citizen Conservation Foundation gGmbH
      Reichenberger Street 88
      10999 Berlin
      Germany

      Phone: +49 (0) 30 92 10 13-223
      Mail: info |at| citizen-conservation.org
      Web: www.citizen-conservation.org




        Contact

        Citizen Conservation Foundation gGmbH
        Reichenberger Street 88
        10999 Berlin
        Germany

        Phone: +49 (0) 30 92 10 13-223
        Mail: info |at| citizen-conservation.org
        Web: www.citizen-conservation.org





          A precarious bestiary

          Projects

          In 48 expert and entertaining animal portraits, Heiko Werning and Ulrike Sterblich take us into a world full of strange and fantastic creatures that need to be saved from extinction.

          Help them!

          Projects

          In 48 expert and entertaining animal portraits, Heiko Werning and Ulrike Sterblich take us into a world full of strange and fantastic creatures that need to be saved from extinction.

          Help them!

          To raise public awareness of the biodiversity crisis, our Creatures Podcast was launched during the first lockdown in May 2020. The first two seasons are now available in printed form in bookshops – including 24 new exciting stories about wondrous, but unfortunately also endangered species and the worldwide efforts of conservationists to save them. Incidentally, anyone who buys the book – or already has it on their bookshelf at home – is already making an active contribution to species conservation: the entire fee for the Precarious Bestiary goes to Citizen Conservation, and the publisher Galiani Berlin is also supporting the project with half an euro for every copy sold. Further donations are very welcome and will help our work at Citizen Conservation to counteract species extinction in the long term.

          Of Okapi, Box Turtle and Schnilch

          A precarious bestiary

          Zhou's Box Turtle has invented social distancing: Whenever it doesn't like something, it goes into mini-lockdown and cuts its connections to the outside world. The Tasmanian Devil is the angry citizen among the animals, jumping around stinking, screaming and with red ears. The Partula Snail, named after the trio of Roman goddesses of fate, is a real nightmare for all romantics and ElitePartner. The Tree Lobster, a deformed South Sea yeti with a wobbly gait and armour, can create clones.

          As strange and different as the animals in this book are, they have one sad thing in common: their survival is in the balance and without being kept in human care, they wouldn't stand a chance.

          Urbanisation, deforestation and poaching have put the species in a precarious situation. A Gallic village of dedicated animal lovers and conservationists led by the organisation Citizen Conservation are working to prevent the final extinction of the species through breeding and reintroduction projects.

          Heiko Werning, one of the initiators of Citizen Conservation, and Ulrike Sterblich create a fascinating panopticon of what nature has to offer in knowledgeable and entertaining animal portraits: The preservation of biodiversity is a crucial human task!

          To the reading sample

          Bibliography
          Publisher: Galiani Berlin
          Publication date: 10/02/2022 | 240 pages | ISBN: 978-3-86971-255-0

          The brains behind the “Prekäres Bestiarium”:

          Every donation helps – support us with a patronage!

          Our aim at Citizen Conservation is to work with professional and private animal conservationists to set up coordinated conservation breeding projects for endangered species in order to tackle the challenges of species extinction.

          If you would like to support our mission, we would be delighted to receive a donation, for which we would like to thank you with an individual appreciation:

          Support

          Bestiary patronage: € 50

          From € 50 you will receive a hand-stamped, signed card with a personal greeting from the authors.

          Please send us an e-mail with your name and address to bestiarium |at| citizen-conservation.org and transfer the donation amount to the account below.

          Support

          Bestiary patronage: € 150

          Have you taken one of the precarious beasts from the book to your heart? Take on or give away a bestiary patronage from € 150. In return, you will receive a T-shirt printed with the corresponding vignette of your favourite from the book.

          Send us an e-mail with your personal details to bestiarium |at| citizen-conservation.org

          Your details

          Name
          Address
          Motif animal species
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          Our donation account

          Citizen Conservation
          GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG
          Keyword "Patronage" + your name
          DE38 4306 0967 1271 7068 00
          BIC: GENODEM1GLS

          Once payment has been received, your thank you will be sent and the patron will be mentioned by name on our homepage as a supporter. If you do not wish to be mentioned by name on the homepage, you can indicate this in your email. Please note that we dispatch from Germany. If the postage is too high in relation to the donation amount, you will have to pay for the postage yourself.

          (We reserve the right to refuse to publish the names of organisations that run counter to the values of Citizen Conservation; you may then receive your donation back).

          Many thanks to our patrons

          Our donation account

          Citizen Conservation
          GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG
          Keyword "Patronage" + your name
          DE38 4306 0967 1271 7068 00
          BIC: GENODEM1GLS

          Donate directly via PayPal:
          Donate with PayPal

          Our donation account

          Citizen Conservation
          GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG
          Keyword "Patronage" + your name
          DE38 4306 0967 1271 7068 00
          BIC: GENODEM1GLS

          Donate directly via PayPal:
          Donate with PayPal

          The protagonists of the "Prekäres Bestiarium":

          The Creatures Podcast

          Stories of rare and very rare animals.

          Want to learn exciting new things about endangered species from artists, scientists and others? You can if you subscribe to the Creatures Podcast! In four seasons already, personalities such as singer-songwriter Reinhard Mey, writer Wladimir Kaminer and cabaret artist Annette Frier have lent their voices to endangered animal species, providing entertaining information about the fate of the Darwin’s Frog, Northern Bald Ibis and the like.

          You can listen to the podcast on Spotify, iTunes,Podigee and YouTube:

          > YouTube> Spotify> Podigee

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