Something Newt and Different: 12 Rare Amphibians Hatch for First Time Outside Native Habitat

Playing Strange Mating Ritual at Zoo Could Save Rare Amphibian Species

The hatching of 12 strange-looking newts has marked a major achievement for conservation efforts.

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The Montseny brook newt, measuring just four inches long, is considered the rarest amphibian breed in Europe.

As a part of conservation efforts, the species was bred at the Chester Zoo in England for the first time in history thanks to Spain's Torreferussa Wildlife Center, which that sent over 24 newts.

Researchers said the critically endangered species has never been bred outside of its native Catalonia.

“It is teetering perilously close to the brink of extinction and requires immediate action if we are to establish more numbers and save them,” said Dr. Gerardo Garcia, the Chester Zoo's curator of invertebrates and lower vertebrates.

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Garcia explained that the species is normally found in the mountains near Barcelona, and the cold and wet habitats they are acclimated to are threatened by climate change and deforestation.

Researchers have estimated that there are less than 1,500 Montseny brook newts remaining in the wild.