The Kaiser’s spotted newt could be the first creatures to have the dubious honour of becoming extinct because of e-commerce. That’s according to this article which highlights the threat the creature is under from internet trading.
The rare newt which is found only in Iran is highly sought after by amphibian enthusiasts who are willing to pay as much as £200 for one. An investigation into the sale of the newts has been monitoring at least 10 websites which stock them, one of which has sold more than 200 wild caught newts in a year. This may seem a small amount but when it is estimated that only 1,000 mature individuals remain it is a large portion of the remaining population.
Conservationists are now pushing for trade in wild caught Kaiser’s spotted newts to be made illegal. There are also numerous websites which offer captive bred newts from £40 each, some of which have been breeding them since 2008. As always though it’s hard to know which ones are wild caught and which are not.