We're moving newts!

04/02/2019 10:10 h.

The Torreferrussa fauna centre moves 36 newts from Montseny to the Pont de Suert centre and Barcelona Zoo.

Within the framework of the European project Life Tritó Montseny, the Fauna Centre of Torreferrussa has ceded 18 pairs of Montseny's newt (Calotriton Arnoldi): 10 pairs from the western population to the fauna centre of Pont de Suert (Leida) and 8 pairs from the eastern population to the Barcelona Zoo, within the captive breeding programme of this species. Thus, the Pont de Suert Fauna Centre now has 17 pairs and 2 trios, while the Barcelona Zoo hosts 18 pairs and 6 breeding groups.

Likewise, the Torreferrussa Fauna Centre will also double the number of pairs with specimens born in the centre and this year it will host around 60 breeding pairs. The pairs of newts destined for reproduction for future releases are genetically selected to ensure and increase the genetic diversity of their descendants in order to survive the changes in the environment.

With this increase in the number of pairs, a new breeding season is being prepared where the number of specimens bred is expected to increase considerably in 2018. In a couple of years it is expected to achieve the objectives set within the Life Tritó Montseny project and reach 800-1,000 specimens born in captivity annually. To this end, during last year works were carried out to extend and improve the facilities at the Fauna Centre of Torreferrussa, Pont de Suert and Zoo of Barcelona to triple the reproductive capacity of the species.

380 larvae in 2018

In addition to the three centres that work on captive breeding of the species in Catalonia, the Chester Zoo (one of the most prestigious in amphibian recovery), has 12 newt pairs from Montseny since April 2017, when the Torreferrussa Fauna Centre gave it 24 specimens to relocate them in a facility with close to 60 aquariums.

Overall, in 2018, 380 larvae (287 from the western population and 93 from the eastern population) have been obtained among the 4 breeding centres.

The destiny of these pups is to repopulate the Montseny torrents. In order to choose them, a careful research work is carried out where the water quality, the physicochemical constants and the fauna and flora of the torrent are studied, in order to ensure the survival of the released animals.


Two years with European support

The promotion of captive breeding of this endemic species, catalogued as such since 2005, is one of the objectives of the European project Life Tritó Montseny.


Tritons in captivity. Author: F. Amat.