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Mountain Chicken

Mountain Chicken (Leptodactylus fallax)
Individuals left
Appr. 130
Dominica, Caribbean
The fungal disease cytridiomycosis that attacks amphibians
Mountain Chicken

"In recent decades, the wild mountain chicken population has plummeted from around 100,000 to approximately 130 mature individuals. The frog, which can weigh up to one kilo/two pounds, has in all probability disappeared in the wild on the island of Montserrat, so that it can now only be found on the island of Dominica in the Caribbean. This is entirely due to the fungal disease cytridiomycosis, which affects amphibians. When the disease reached Dominica in 2002 and Montserrat seven years later, the population fell by 85 and 80 percent, respectively, in just 18 months, one of the most significant collapses among all vertebrates on earth. When Hurricane Maria hit Dominica in 2017, the frog suffered another blow. As the disease continues to be found on both Montserrat and Dominica, we risk losing the species in 2034 if we stop conservation work.”

"The remaining individuals live in areas that, unfortunately, are not protected against human activities such as construction, agriculture and pollution. And as long as the chytrid fungus is present, we cannot reintroduce frogs, as they cannot resist the infection. Until research cracks the code to creating a viable wild population, we need to protect our captive populations and the semi-wild mountain chickens on Montserrat. It is important that we intensify the work to protect natural habitats and keep a close eye on the invasive species that have caused great damage on the neighboring islands. However, new research suggests that some frogs on Dominica have now developed genes that make them resistant to cytridiomycosis, and that gives us hope.”

Jeff Dawson, Field Programs Manager, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust