Chytrid and the Cane Toad
Well it was a bloody bad start to the month! Not only did the dreaded Chytrid fungus (think frog ebola) get into the facility and infect 4 of the 5 frogs we have, but two Cane Toads cropped up on Dominica. Both these two factors have the potential to do a great deal of damage to the Mountain Chicken population on Dominica.
Here is why:
1) The chytrid fungus is decimating frog populations globally and is the reason the mountain chicken is critically endangered with only 150 left in the wild. See more info here: http://www.amphibianark.org/the-crisis/chytrid-fungus/
2) the Cane Toad (ask any Australian about these bastards) not only carry the chytrid fungus but also don't suffer from it so they are perfect vectors for the disease. They also eat the same food as Mountain Chickens and even have the potential to eat Mountain Chickens. In short they are a biological disaster for any island they invade.
The fungus is treatable however and all the frogs in our facility are now being treated, one unfortunately died to a stupid error on my part (I was utterly mortified). But the others are all recovering well. We also found a male with chyrid in the wild who we brought back for treatment. So it seems chytrid may have reared its ugly head again. However we think the remaining population may be resistant to the fungus (how else would they still be alive?) So we are staying hopeful.
We conducted 2 surveys for Cane Toads and found nothing and we also made the public in the area the frogs were found aware of the issue, we are hoping its an isolated case!!!
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