BIOLOGISTS at Valencia’s Oceanogràfic park have successfully managed to reintroduce a severely threatened species of newt back into the Serra Calderona nature park between the provinces of Valencia and Castellon.
The programme follows an identical scheme carried out previously in Sueras (Serra Espada, Castellon) and which was selected as one of the 10 best environmental and sustainable development projects in the Valencia region.
The Pleurodeles waltl, better known as the Iberian ribbed newt, is on the Valencian list of endangered species and is considered of vital importance for the maintenance of the area’s endemic biodiversity.
According to the experts, the newt helps regulate the insect population and plays an important part in the food chain.
Furthermore, and as its name suggests, the amphibian can only be found on the Iberian Peninsula and in Morocco.
The project is entitled Oasis of life, restoration of water sources for local biodiversity, the Iberian ribbed newt as the leading species and was launched three years ago to preserve flora and fauna that are typical to the area.
In addition to reintroducing and protecting endemic species, the programme also focuses on raising environmental awareness among the public and publishing scientific and educational material.
The Oceanografic team will work closely with residents who are familiar with the Serra Calderona in order to target the best spots to release the baby newts.
Working also with the regional Agriculture department, the experts will recover abandoned waterholes, dig new ones and clear small wetland areas of invasive species.
The released specimens will be marked with an ultraviolet solution or fitted with a microchip that will enable scientists to keep track of their progress.
Natural ponds have recently been found to play a vital role in regulating global warming, as they trap and filter carbon dioxide naturally.