Target: Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dan Ashe
Goal: Ban the import of live salamanders to prevent the spread of a deadly fungus attacking vulnerable North American salamanders.
There are over 600 known species of salamanders and close to half of them live in North America, but now a deadly fungus is threatening their existence. The fungus is being carried on imported salamanders from Asian countries. Although the pathogen has not hit the United States yet, nothing has been done to prevent it from happening.
The fungus in question is called “Bsal,” from the name Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, and originates from Asian salamanders. In 2013, the fungus killed off a large number of European fire salamanders in the Netherlands. When scientists tested the fungus on various salamanders from around the world, it killed off all of the European and North American salamanders. It appears that the Asian salamanders are not affected by it because they grew a resistance to the fungus.
The main threat comes from the import of close to 800,000 salamanders from Asia, as this group of imported salamanders carries the disease. The good news is that Bsal has not yet hit North America. The problem is that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has not taken the necessary steps to keep it from invading North America. Salamanders are abundant in the southern Appalachians and central Mexico. Once the fungus arrives, however, it will cause rapid extinction of the North American salamander population. This extinction will cause a severe impact on the health of the North American forests.
Please sign this petition to ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to put a pause on the import of Asian salamanders in order to save the North American salamanders from this deadly pathogen.
Dear Director Dan Ashe,
The salamander is often an overlooked animal because they are not seen unless you are visiting a forest. Not many people know that the salamander is actually a very vital part of the environment. Unfortunately, a deadly disease is threatening to bring down their population.
The “Bsal” fungus has the ability to kill off European and North American salamanders, which will greatly affect the health of North American forests. The main threat comes from imported salamanders that are brought into America, which is why we ask that imports of international salamanders be halted in order to protect the North American salamanders. Don’t let this disease threaten the lives of our treasured amphibian.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Albert Herring