Britain’s wild newts are under threat from a deadly flesh-eating fungus that has nearly wiped them out in parts of Europe.
While the wild newt population is clear of the disease, for now, conservationists warn that the risk of infection remains high from the privately traded population.
Amphibian dealers are being urged to take preventative measures to ensure that the killer Bsal fungus do not penetrate into the wild.
Newts are important for maintaining freshwater ecosystems and those imported into the UK should undergo ‘strict’ checks and quarantine procedures, scientists warned.
For now, the UK’s wild newt populations seem to be free from the flesh-eating fungus known to be prevalent in privately-owned amphibians across Western Europe, according to a nationwide investigation.
A healthy wild newt population is important for maintaining the healthy status of freshwater ecosystems.
But scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and its research partners are now urging private amphibian owners to enforce strict ‘biosecurity’ measures to protect the UK’s wild newts.