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Emerging pathogen found in salamanders in the EU
Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) was first identified in 2013 and causes a fatal skin disease in non-resistant species.

Efsa recommendations to protect pet and wild amphibians 

An emerging fungal pathogen has been detected in captive and wild salamanders across five EU member states, a new report shows.

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) was first identified in 2013 and causes a fatal skin disease in non-resistant species.

Despite limited surveillance, the pathogen has been seen in pet salamanders in the UK, Belgium, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, according to a new report by the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa).

It has also been detected in wild populations in some parts of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

As surveillance is limited, however, the pathogen could be more widely spread than currently known.

To ensure safer trade of live salamanders in the EU and internationally, Efsa suggested a potential ban or restrictions on salamander imports, though the authority noted that this could also boost the illegal trade. Other methods include hygiene procedures, good practice manuals and efforts to identify and treat infected pets.

In the wild, Efsa recommended preventing the translocation of wild amphibians, as well as the release/return to the wild of captive or temporarily housed salamanders. Contact points and emergency teams should also be set up for passive surveillance.

Other recommendations in the report include:

  • enhance surveillance
  • introduce a harmonised protocol on Bsal detection in the EU
  • raise awareness of Bsal among breeders, keepers and pet shops
  • put together guidelines on hygiene procedures
  • movements of captive salamanders should be based on health status (Bsal negative)
  • improve data on salamander abundance and distribution.

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UK a step closer to ivory ban

News Story 1
 A UK ban on ivory sales is one step closer to coming into force, as the government has introduced the Ivory Bill to parliament. The ban covers items of all ages, rather than just ivory carved after 1947. Anyone breaching the ban will face an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.

Conservationists have welcomed the bill, which comes less than six weeks after the government published the results of a consultation on this issue. Around 55 African elephants are now slaughtered for their ivory every day and the illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth £17 billion a year.  

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News Shorts
Strategic alliance to support development of agri-food sector

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Queen’s University Belfast have formed a new strategic alliance that will see both institutions form a research and education partnership.

Under the agreement, the organisations will pool their resources and expertise to support the development of the agri-food sector. It will work across three core themes: enabling innovation, facilitating new ways of working and partnerships.