The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Prospect Park Zoo is now home to five Kaiser’s spotted newts (Neurergus kaiseri) a colorful amphibian found only in a five-square-mile region in Iran. The critically endangered species may be extinct in the wild.
Habitat loss including damming of local waters, combined with the illegal trade in these rare amphibians has driven the species to near extinction. Because of these environmental and social threats, the IUCN has designated the Kaiser’s spotted newt as critically endangered.
In addition to the debut of Kaiser’s spotted newt, five Anderson’s crocodile newts (Echinotriton andersoni) are on exhibit.
Native to Japan, China, and northern Taiwan, Anderson’s newts are not endangered but unique in that they have a dull, armored appearance.
The Kaiser’s spotted newts live in the Animals in Art exhibit while the Anderson’s newts live in the Amphibian Crisis exhibit, which highlights the serious challenges amphibians face around the world. WCS’s Bronx Zoo also breeds and maintains Anderson’s crocodile newts.