Salamanders are in a terrible crisis. Many salamander species are disappearing from the wild. Unfortunately, due to their secretive lifestyles, salamanders are not commonly seen by people. This means the decline in salamanders largely goes unnoticed – even as species become extirpated (locally extinct and exterminated). Salamanders are further at risk due to the fact that few conservation groups are solely devoted to their recovery, and the general public is largely indifferent to saving ”slimy amphibians.”
Aside from the conservation concerns that afflict salamanders, these amphibians are also subjected to many forms of cruelty. Yet virtually no attention is given to salamanders from animal welfare advocates.
Save The Salamanders is a project created and run by Matt Ellerbeck (The Salamander Man), who is a Salamander Advocate & Conservationist. The word conservation is often used to describe a movement that aims to conserve natural resources and species expressly for their continued sustainable use by humans. In this sense a conservationist views the environment as having instrumental value that can be of help to people. Matt, however, aims to protect and preserve salamanders for their intrinsic value. He believes that salamanders have inherent worth, regardless of any instrumental utility to human needs.
The Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy (ARC) states that it recognizes the need to increase awareness, appreciation, and understanding of amphibians, reptiles and their habitats, which can then enhance conservation actions and stewardship practices. The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust also proclaims that education is one of the most important tools in the long-term conservation of amphibians and reptiles. By raising awareness, enhancing knowledge and encouraging people to take action, real steps can be made towards conserving amphibian and reptile species.
As such, Matt’s mission is to help contribute to the conservation of salamanders to ensure their continuing survival, through outreach education efforts and by raising awareness. He aims to educate individuals of all ages and all walks of life by utilizing several platforms. These include media appearances, awareness campaigns, social networking, the distribution of informative fact sheets, and by presenting educational workshops, lectures, and displays. Such awareness helps people develop a sense of empathy and concern for salamanders, and this in turn will fuel their desire to become active in the preservation and advancement of these animals. Matt emphasises that individuals can become involved with the recovery of salamanders via behavioural changes, informed decision making, environmental stewardship actions, and habitat management efforts. Many of his presentations are geared towards youth. This is important as according to the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network, environmental education focused on children and youth is a particularly important strategy because it’s an opportunity to intervene at a key developmental stage of life and because children can be an important influence on the environmental behaviour of their parents.
Matt also strives to help salamanders by diligently collecting observational records of these animals in the wild. These records are sent to various organizations to help gain a better understanding of salamander populations, ranges, and habitats.
He also aspires to help bring an end to the immense cruelty and abuse that salamanders often face.
For those who want to contribute to the conservation & protection of salamanders, this site contains much information on how to become active and involved. Although it is unlikely that individuals will be able to do all of the suggested actions, people are still encouraged to do as much as possible.