Grant for Salamnder Conservation

Travisdjtg

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"The goal is to rebuild the captive populations and reintroduce the endangered salamanders back into the wild."

They don't understand that if Theirs no protected habitat to release back into to their no point at all in any of this.
 

peter5930

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It's depressing that the comments section so quickly turned into an argument over taxes.
 

rethgar

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It's depressing that the comments section so quickly turned into an argument over taxes.
A lot of online news stories seem to end up like this. It's usually the opinion of a vocal minority though...
 

peter5930

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"The goal is to rebuild the captive populations and reintroduce the endangered salamanders back into the wild."

They don't understand that if Theirs no protected habitat to release back into to their no point at all in any of this.
Do you think a species can't be preserved if it's extinct in the wild, or that a species has no value if it only exists in captivity, or is your objection/pessimism based on something else?

If a species is no longer viable in the wild, I'd much rather see it preserved in captivity than simply left to become extinct, and studying the reproductive biology of salamanders is an important step towards being able to maintain captive populations of some of the more finicky species. Salamanders are well suited to long-term preservation in captivity; they can be kept in large numbers at low cost relative to most mammal or bird species, most of them reproduce readily and they have high fecundity that allows rigorous selection pressures to operate on their offspring, all of which helps to prevent the deterioration of a captive population over time through inbreeding depression and genetic drift.

I tend to think long-term, and who knows what the situation will be in the future? If we keep species alive in captivity, our descendants might end up reintroducing them to the wild in a few hundred years when conditions have changed, just like people today are reintroducing species like wolves and beavers to areas where they suffered local extinctions centuries ago, now that the pressures which wiped them out the first time around have been reduced or eliminated. On even longer time-scales, captive species that are extinct in the wild could be introduced to a terraformed Mars or to extrasolar planets thousands of years from now, but that'll never happen if we give up on a species today simply because there's currently no wild habitat that it can survive in.

Even if they never again set foot in the wild, it's still nice to have them around as living, breathing animals going through their life cycles in captivity, rather than just having pictures, videos, bones and the occasional pickled salamander in a jar to pass along to future generations.
 

aziraphale77

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Hey All-

I am actually one of the researchers on this project, if you end up having questions. I don't tend to read comments on news articles because of negativity, but I wanted to read what was said here (because, of course, fellow salamander enthusiasts are the best kind of folk!). Just a brief explanation- right now our grant only covers a small number of species which, due to a decent amount of viable habitat, would be likely to survive if we managed to build up a sustainable population and release them. That being said, our current goal is still in the very basic stages. We are working on model, non-endangered, species to attempt to breed them both naturally and via assisted reproductive technologies (using hormones to stimulated them, artificial inseminations etc.) in the lab. We hope to work out a successful protocol that we can then apply to endangered animals. We are well aware that each species is different (we are finding tiger salamanders react quite differently to hormones than axolotls, going by previously published work done on axolotls) so these protocols may need to be adjusted with endangered animals, but once we start working with them we will have a basis with which to handle them safely and efficiently.

Once we have success with the species on our list, we hope to extend the grant to others. That, however, is a ways off.

Anyhow, I hope this answers some questions. I don't get to the forums often, but if you have more questions I will try to answer them. Thanks!

-Dr. Ruth
 

findi

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Hey All-

I am actually one of the researchers on this project, if you end up having questions. I don't tend to read comments on news articles because of negativity, but I wanted to read what was said here (because, of course, fellow salamander enthusiasts are the best kind of folk!). Just a brief explanation- right now our grant only covers a small number of species which, due to a decent amount of viable habitat, would be likely to survive if we managed to build up a sustainable population and release them. That being said, our current goal is still in the very basic stages. We are working on model, non-endangered, species to attempt to breed them both naturally and via assisted reproductive technologies (using hormones to stimulated them, artificial inseminations etc.) in the lab. We hope to work out a successful protocol that we can then apply to endangered animals. We are well aware that each species is different (we are finding tiger salamanders react quite differently to hormones than axolotls, going by previously published work done on axolotls) so these protocols may need to be adjusted with endangered animals, but once we start working with them we will have a basis with which to handle them safely and efficiently.

Once we have success with the species on our list, we hope to extend the grant to others. That, however, is a ways off.

Anyhow, I hope this answers some questions. I don't get to the forums often, but if you have more questions I will try to answer them. Thanks!

-Dr. Ruth
Thanks very much for the info; there's a long history of using non-endangered species as models, but in zoo world and private sector. Sounds very promising; I hope it works out, please keep me posted and I'll pass info along to other herpetologists and private keepers. Best, Frank
 
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