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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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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
British sheep meat to be exported to India in new agreement

The UK government has secured a new export deal of sheep meat to India.

In 2017, UK sheep meat exports were worth £386 million. This new agreement is predicted to increase this value by £6 million over the next five years.

With a range of meat cuts due to be exported, the deal is seen by international trade secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, as “another vote of confidence in our world-leading food and drink”.