Friday 20 September 2019

Blind worm-like amphibian named after Donald Trump

The Demorphis donaldtrumpi was named in protest at the US president’s views on climate change.

President Donald Trump, left, and a caecilian (PA/Wikimedia Commons)
President Donald Trump, left, and a caecilian (PA/Wikimedia Commons)

By Stephen Jones, Press Association Social Media Editor

A blind amphibian that buries its head below ground level has been named after US President Donald Trump.

The caecilian, a type of Panamanian amphibian, was given the new title Demorphis donaldtrumpi after an environmental construction company bought the rights to name it for 25,000 dollars (£20,000) at a Rainforest Trust auction.

Envirobuild said it made the decision because of President Trump’s views on climate change.

Founder Aidan Bell said the name caecilians is “taken from the Latin Caecus, meaning ‘blind'”, pointing out that the creatures “have rudimentary eyes which can only detect light or dark”.

“Capable of seeing the world only in black and white, Donald Trump has claimed that climate change is a hoax by the Chinese,” Mr Bell added.

That referred to a tweet sent by Mr Trump in 2012, reading: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.”

More recently Mr Trump said he was joking, stating in an interview with CBS: “I don’t think it’s a hoax. I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s man-made.

“I will say this: I don’t want to give trillions and trillions of dollars (to fight climate change). I don’t want to lose millions and millions of jobs.”

Leading scientists around the world agree that climate change has been primarily brought about by human activity, and UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres recently described it as “the single most important issue we face” as world leaders met for a summit in Poland.

Last year, Mr Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, and his administration has supported the continued use of fossil fuels in industry.

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Protests outside the American Embassy in London as Donald Trump announced he was withdrawing from the Paris agreement (David Mizoeff/PA)

On his company’s website, Mr Bell said: “As Demorphus donaldtrumpi is an amphibian, it is particularly susceptible to the impacts of climate change and is therefore in danger of becoming extinct as a direct result of its namesake’s climate policies.”

According to University College London, caecilians “are a group of limbless, burrowing amphibians” which resemble earthworms or slick snakes.

They mostly inhabit moist tropical and subtropical regions of the world such as South and Central America and sub-Saharan Africa, and spend the majority of their lives below the earth’s surface.

Envirobuild said it was “not an overtly political organisation”, but added: “We do feel very strongly that everyone should do everything they can to leave the world in a better way than they found it.”

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