Japanese Salamanders and Ambassador

Photo: Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
August 11, 2010
Media Photo/Video

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Photo: Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Rick Quintero (left), the primary Japanese giant salamander keeper at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, feeds the Zoo’s new juvenile salamanders for Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki (right) as the press looks on. Fujisaki was at the Zoo today to help celebrate the arrival of the salamanders, which were a gift from the City of Hiroshima Asa Zoological Park. The Zoo is establishing the first long-term captive breeding program for these animals in the United States, and researchers will study their biology, behavior and reproductive physiology. This work will complement the Zoo’s efforts as a leader of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project to save more than 50 species of frogs in imminent danger of extinction from chytrid in Panama and the Zoo’s research with Shenandoah salamanders and hellbenders in its own backyard.