Relation to Humans
Proteus is considered a national treasure by the government of Slovenia, which honors the species by placing it on one of its coins. There is also the Proteus Postojna Speleobiological station, a museum which features Proteus along with other invertebrate cave fauna. This museum is visited by thousand of Slovenian school children and tourists every year.
Nearly 300 years after the first written mention of the unpigmented Proteus in Janez Vajkard Valvasor's "The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola (1689)", a pigmented form (described as a subspecies, Proteus anguinus parkelj, the black olm) was discovered at Jelsevniscica in Jelsevnik near Crnomelj in Slovenia. This limited area is the unique locality of the black olm. A presentation on the unique black population has been prepared by the research group for functional-morphological studies of vertebrates, under the guidance of Prof. dr. Bulog. This presentation is located in the house of the family Zupancic in Jelsevnik and is prepared on ten color panels with texts and photo documentation. The presentation is intended for tourists and also for teaching and research purposes, for better recognition of the unique part of Slovenian natural heritage.
A popular scientific film dealing with our studies of biological peculiarities of endemic cave salamander supports this presentation and was recently created in collaboration with National TV of Slovenia (Bulog et al. 2003).