2016
  • March 2016: Publication in scientific journal "Emerging Infectious Diseases". RAVON conducted a study in close collaboration with various other research institutions to determine the current distribution and host range of Bsal in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. [Link]

  • February 2016: In a joint letter addressed at the European Committee nature organizations and scientists ask for more financial and legislative means to support monitoring, disease surveillance, rescue plans and research. In addition they ask for a moratorium of the trade in possible wild host species from Southeast Asia.  

  • January 2016: Deadly amphibian fungus in Europe could emerge in United States: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) identifies research needs & management actions in a new report released on January 21st 2016.

2015  
  • December 2015: The Standing Committee (Bern Convention) published an recommendation with regards to Bsal: Recommendation No. 176 (2015) on the prevention and control of the Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans chytrid fungus [document T-PVS (2015) 9]

  • May-June 2015: Deadly fungal disease Bsal detected in alpine newts. In the Belgian province Flanders dead alpine newts have been found. The cause of these mortalities was Bsal. This constitutes not only the first reports of Bsal in Flanders but also the first confirmed case of the disease affecting species other than Fire salamanders. Luckily, a massive disease outbreak remains absent for the time being. [Dutch] [English]

2014  October
  • European salamanders and newts threatened by Asian fungal disease. Spectacular progress in research on the novel chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans. New publication in Science: [Link]
  • Disease spreading to the Belgian Province Wallonia two outbreaks reported in Fire salamanders.
  • Lab trials show that not only Fire salamanders are highly susceptible to the disease but many European species including species like Northern crested newts and alpine newts.
  • The pathogen has been isolated in Asian Urodelan species dating as far back (in museum specimens) as 1861. It is very likely that the disease originates from Asia. European species have not been exposed to this disease prior to the introduction of the pathogen in Western Europe and are therefor naive to it. [Link] [Video starring An Martel]
2014  may - september 

  • On the 26th of June a lecture in Geulle (Limburg/IVN) was given by RAVON. The village Geulle is very close to the initial outbreak site in Southern Limburg.
  • On the 21st of June a very successful run was organized in order to raise funds for Fire salamander conservation in the Netherlands  [Report]
2014  january - may 
  • The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs acknowledges the importance of research on Bsal and helps finances the action plan named "SOS Fire salamander". This financial aid is very welcome indeed! RAVON and Gent University will continue their studies on how the disease entered the Netherlands and Belgium, how it spreads (temporal and geographical) and which (wild) hosts are affected. In addition and risk analysis is made. 
  • Fire Salamanders transported to Zoos for ex situ conservation project (Kasteelpark Born, Gaiazoo, DoeZoo Leens [Link]
  • Disturbing and disheartening news involving the first reports of Bsal in Wallonia (Belgium). The disease was already detected near the Belgian city Eupen (near the German border) but now also in Robertville. [Eupen] [Robertville] 
2013  september - december 
  • The cause of the disease has been identified. The causative agents is a novel chytrid fungus which seems to only infect salamanders and news and has been aptly named  "Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans". This roughly translates to "the devourer of salamander. These findings have been published in the scientific journal PNAS.  [PNAS publication] [Nature Today]
  • On the annual RAVON symposium several lectures and an open discussion on the discovery of Bsal and its possible implications were held.
  • In november the RAVON magazine was dedicated in its entirety to the Fire salamander, its rapid decline and Bsal. [Thematic Issue]
  • RAVON and Gent University are looking into means of financing future research on this novel and dangerous pathogen.
  • In October RAVON and Gent University organized a workshop for nature organizations on how to deal with a highly infectious disease in their terrains and amphibian populations in terms of hygiene protocols etc. This workshop and its content was also presented to other terrain managers, volunteers, fieldworkers and other parties working in "infected" areas. 
  • On Tuesday 18 November our ambassador for "Year of the Fire salamander" Freek Vonk was a guest on the TV show for kids called Zapp. Freek told a lot about the Fire salamander, how wonderful and important they are and that they need our help! [Item] 
2013  april - july 
  • This spring several adult animals have been found in the wild. Among which a few gravid females. Some of these females have deposited larvae in captivity.
  • Until the cause of the decline in the wild is found animals that have been put in to the ex situ project are not actively bred yet. A wildlife disease seems to be a logical explanation for the rapid decline.
  • On expert advise the collection of wild Fire salamanders for the ex situ conservation project has ceased in order to let some wild individuals to remain in the wild. It is hoped they can overcome whatever ails them and built up population numbers.
  • The adult animals houses in Gent University are cleared of Bsal and are no longer in quarantine. In April and May they have been transferred to Kasteelpark Born, a Zoo in Southern Limburg (the Netherlands). 
  • RAVON attended on three separate occasions activities throughout the Netherlands with a special table dedicated to the Fire salamander. RAVON project leader Wilbert Bosman hosted a lecture on the Fire salamander in Maastricht.
  • RAVON, the Bureau of Statistics the Netherlands (CBS) and Gent University wrote a joint paper on the rapid decline of the Fire salamander in the Netherlands in the journal Amphibia-Reptilia: "Rapid enigmatic decline drives the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) to the edge of extinction in the Netherlands (Spitzen-van der Sluijs et al. 2013). A summary of this paper has been published in FrogLog 107:17-18 (Woeltjes et al. 2013). 

2013  january - march

  • In March an expert meeting was held with experts from Alterra, Arcadis, NHGL, State Forestry, RAVON and Gent University. It is evermore likely that a wildlife disease is the cause of the decline. Research carried out by Gent University and RAVON is ongoing and will soon clarify what is the causative agent. 
  • As soon as there is more known about a possible disease affecting the Fire salamanders its relationship with water quality can be studied . There is a possibility that high levels of nitrate could play a role in host susceptibility. 
  • On the 20th of March students of a primary school in Wilp-Achterhoek organized a run in order to raise funds for Fire salamander conservation and research. With the raised funds the students also adopted the salamander "Sproet or Freckle" which is housed in one of the Zoos. 
  • In close collaboration with VVV Zuid Limburg (a regional travel agency) agreements have been made in order to promote the Fire salamander and RAVON's "Year of the Fire salamander".  Local support is very important in order for the development and succes of the action plan.
  • In April 2013 the quarantine period of the infected animals kept in special facilities in Gent University will expire. After this period the animals will be transferred to Kasteelpark Born (a Dutch Zoo in Southern Limburg).
  • February: Dutch herpetologist Freek Vonk has presented the problem live on the popular Dutch show "De Wereld draait door" Freek is the official ambassador for this project and has written a column in the magazine of Dutch broadcaster TROS earlier this year. 

 

2012  november - december 
  • In November RAVON hosted a workshop (led by Ruud Foppen) in the village Bunde (Southern Limburg). Attendees included State Forestry, Nature Monuments, Prorail (railway maintenance), Artis (Amsterdam Zoo), Kasteelpark Born, volunteers, fieldworkers- and researchers, private property owners and others.  
  • The transfer of Fire salamanders has been postponed due to recent deaths in the captive population. Quarantine will remain in effect until the cause has been determined. 
  • Journalist Nienke Beintema (newspaper NRC) wrote an excellent article on Fire salamander which was published on the 22nd of December. [Link article] [Link cover photo]
2012  5 OCTOBER - 1 november
  • New Fire salamanders are ready to be adopted!
  • This summer almost no adults have been found, in October several males have been found though!
  • A meeting with exports of the AmphibianArk project and the IUCN resulted in the decision that at least 30 unrelated males and females are necessary(15 of each sex) to create a viable, long-term breeding project. 
  • Currently enough animals are present in the shelter to create a breeding project. All animals will be screened on a genetic level to determine if they are related to each other and which couples would be suitable for breeding. No more animals are collected from in the field. 
  • Bielefeld University (Germany) specializes in genetic research. They will study the genetic diversity of Dutch Fire salamander populations. The results of this study will form the basis of a possible long-term breeding project in order to create an assurance colony. 
  • In it Vijlenerbos surveys have been conducted by student Jochem Giessen and afterwards by various fieldworkers. Alas, no Fire salamanders, be it larvae, juveniles, sub-adults or adults, have been found. 
  • The animals in quarantine will soon be transferred to two Zoos (contracts are being signed at the moment). Four Zoos have been approached in order to house and possibly participate in a breeding project. Of these four Kasteelpark Born and Artis (Amsterdam Zoo) have agreed to facilitate these efforts. 
2012  11 september - 4 OCTOBER
  • The project now has its very own Twitter-account! Want to be kept up to date of all the developments; follow @VurigeSjeng. Soon a Facebook account will be created as well. 
  • With several Zoos there have been meetings to investigate if they can house Dutch Fire salamanders for a possible long-term breeding project. More concrete reports are expected by mid-October.
  • On October the third no less than three Fire salamanders have been spotted in the wild!
  • RAVON and the Ministry of Economic affairs have had a meeting on how to tackle the ongoing decline of the Fire salamander.
  • A workshop on the decline of the Fire salamander will soon be organized by RAVON for all parties involved. 
  • Most of the salamanders that were up for adoption have one or more adoptive "parents"!  This campaign has raised nearly 4700 euros!
  • The article "Aandacht voor de vuursalamander - Special care for the Fire salamander" has also been published in the fall issue  "Mens en Natuur" of the Institute of Nature-education and sustainability.  
2012  27 augustus - 10 september

Since the launch of the project "SOS Fire salamander" a lot of progress has been made!

  • Member of Parliament Stientje van Veldhoven (D66) has asked question in Parliament (Tweede Kamer) to demissionary Secretary of State Henk Bleker. 
  • The project was started of with a generous donation (2400 euro) made by Dierenrampfonds. After that an additional 1696 euro has been donated  by private donors of which we are very grateful. These funds will be allocated to the ex situ project (housing, food and research on wildlife diseases).
  • Several people have adopted Fire salamanders; Rob Veen & Claire Heijmans (Centre Tigouleix), Gerrit & Marijke Krips (Dutch Salamander Society) and Niels de Zwarte.
  • Several private persons have started campaigns in order to raise funds for the project.
  • A female Fire salamander named Gerda in quarantine has given birth to 41 larvae. Of these 12 successfully metamorphized into juvenile salamanders.
  • Two salamanders display aberrant behavior and are transferred to Gent University for further investigation (by Dr. Frank Pasmans and Dr. An Martel).
  • Teacher Arnoud van den Berg developed special lessons dedicated to the Fire salamander. 
  • The September issue of RAVON magazine reports on the rapid decline of the Fire salamander in the Netherlands.I
  • An action plan for the 2013 is in development. In the fall of 2012 a workshop will be developed and hosted by RAVON for all parties involved (like nature organizations/managers, volunteers, Arcadis, the province of Limburg and research institutes). All in order to develop and refine an action plan.

Freek Vonk bij De Wereld Draait Door

Uitzending 7 februari gemist? Geen nood Klik HIER voor           Freek bij DWDD 

Strip uit 1996 van Tom Poes en de vuursalamanders

Freek Vonk bij De Wereld Draait Door

Uitzending 7 februari gemist? Geen nood Klik HIER voor           Freek bij DWDD 

Strip uit 1996 van Tom Poes en de vuursalamanders