Golden Alpine salamander (Salamandra atra aurorae) © Franco Andreone

In a small parcel of the Italian Alps there is a “black salamander” which is not black! Since its discovery in the 80s of last century this wonderful urodelele has been​ always treated as a jewel. Unluckily there are some threats, due to wood logging and habitat alteration. This is a short message by the researchers. – F.  Andreone

North-east Italy. Early in 2014 an agreement has been eventually signed between the Regione Veneto (Parks and Biodiversity Section) and the University of Padova (Department of Biology and Department of Territory and Agro-Forestry Systems). The collaboration aims to develop and test an alternative method for forestry operations of cut and harvest, which should be more respectful than the conventional ones towards the populations of Aurora’s salamander (Salamandra atra aurorae) and their habitat in the Sette Comuni plateau.

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This is the first time that research on ecological and conservation issues on these animals is supported by local administrations. This comes after many initiatives undertaken since 2012 to rise awareness in the local community, including an international petition signed when some impacting forestry works were noticed in the type locality of this narrow endemite.

Photo © Enrico Romanazzi

Photo © Enrico Romanazzi

Salamanders and their habitat will be monitored during the whole activity season of the animals, since May to September. This will allow to evaluate the effects of experimental forestry operations during the winter, when salamanders are quiescent deep in the soil. Such essay will eventually help in developing effective guidelines for the explotation and management of the forests stands inhabited by these amphibians.

Photo © Enrico Romanazzi

Photo © Enrico Romanazzi

Besides research activities, educational actions are going on for local students, tourists and inhabitants, mainly with the support of the “Alpensalamander” project by University of Salzburg, the MUSE – Science Museum of Trento, and the University of Padova.

By Enrico Romanazzi, Sara Lefosse, Lucio Bonato

Photo © Enrico Romanazzi

Photo © Enrico Romanazzi