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Save The Frogs Day: April 30th, 2016

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SAVE THE FROGS! and the Chytrid Fungus

Return to Chytrid Fungus home page |
Detailed protocol for the detection of chytrid fungus using qPCR
| Articles on the chytrid fungus

Necessary steps to control the chytrid fungus

In terms of its effect on biodiversity, chytridiomycosis is quite possibly the worst disease in recorded history. Briefly, our goals at SAVE THE FROGS! are to:

(1) Significantly reduce the number of amphibians shipped around the world;

(2) Ensure that amphibians that are transported long distances are required by law to undergo proper disease testing and quarantine procedures;

(3) Provide scientists with the tools and expertise needed to perform necessary disease-related research;

chytrid fungus donateNone of this can happen without your tax-deductible donation. Please show your support and donate now to SAVE THE FROGS!. Even $10 goes a long way. Thanks!

Petitioning the US Department of Interior to restrict salamander importations

In May 2015, SAVE THE FROGS! along with the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the Secretary of the US Department of Interior to institute an emergency moratorium on the importation of salamanders into the USA unless they are certified free of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandivorans.

- Read and download our 2015 petition here.
- Read the 2015 New York Times article about the petition here.
- Read the 2015 Center for Biological Diversity press release here.

Based on our petition, in January 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a rule restricting the importation and interstate transportation of 201 salamanders species, effective January 28, 2016. The restriction is designed to prevent introduction of the deadly fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans into the United States. Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans is a recently discovered, highly virulent pathogen from Asia. This chytrid fungus is spreading due to the salamander pet trade and has decimated populations of wild fire salamanders in the Netherlands and Belgium. To the best of our knowledge this is the first federal action enacted to prevent the spread of amphibian diseases.

- Read the USFWS Ruling here.
- Read the SAVE THE FROGS! Magazine article this new chytrid fungus.
- The ruling was featured in the New York Times.
- Read the 2016 press release here.
- Submit your comment to the FWS voicing your support and asking them to make the rule permanent.

"This is truly a remarkable and most just ruling. Well done to all involved. Cheers."
-- Chris Giorni, Tree Frog Treks, San Francisco, CA

"Really amazing to see that the ban is actually in place! Never in a million years I could have dreamed that such a thing would pass the political system. Big congrats!!! Cheers.
Tariq Stark, Van Hall-Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands

In 2010, SAVE THE FROGS! sent this letter to the USFWS urging them to ban the importation of all amphibians into the USA unless certified free of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

Plethodon cinereus
Plethodon cinereus photo courtesy Daniel Hocking

Reducing the volume of trade

As of January 2016, SAVE THE FROGS! has gotten three restaurants and 77 supermarkets to stop serving frog legs, and we have educated hundreds of thousands of people about the dangers of shipping amphibians around the world.

Bullfrogs John WhiteWe are currently working with large restaurant chains in the United States to have them remove frog legs from their menus. The majority of these frog legs come from bullfrogs raised at farms in Asia and South America. Bullfrogs are known carriers of the chytrid fungus, and a recent study showed that up to 62% of the five million bullfrogs that enter New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco each year can carry the fungus. Thus the frog leg trade is one of the most likely contributors to the extinction of frog species worldwide. By reducing the number of bullfrogs entering the United States, we will be protecting native American frog populations, and also frog populations around the world: bullfrogs raised at captive rearing facilities often escape into the wild and become harmful invasive species that spread their infections to native frog populations. We strongly suggest you do no purchase frog legs.

Ensuring proper regulations are in place

SAVE THE FROGS! has gotten the City and County of Santa Cruz to prohibit importation of American Bullfrogs, and is working on statewide California legislation.

We are working with politicians and government agencies to institute a disease-free certification system for any frogs that are imported into the United States for sale as pets. See our page about the Lacey Act and our efforts to get a legal ban on the importation of non-native frogs into California. We strongly suggest that you do not buy pet frogs that have not been certified disease-free, and never release a pet frog into the wild in any location other than from where it was collected.

Offering courses in disease detection methods

chytrid fungus classThere are extremely few scientists in the world knowledgeable in the laboratory techniques necessary to detect the chytrid fungus. SAVE THE FROGS! (in conjunction with the Herpetological Circle of Panama) conducted a course entitled "Instruction and application of quantitative PCR molecular techniques for the study of amphibian epidemics", which took place at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City on October 5th-9th 2009. This course was taught in Spanish by SAVE THE FROGS! Founder & Executive Director Dr. Kerry Kriger, with the valuable assistance of Vicky Flechas of Colombia's Universidad de Los Andes.

saThe course was attended by 25 scientists from Panama, Colombia, and Costa Rica, three countries whose amphibian population have experienced severe declines in numbers due to the chytrid fungus. This one course effectively doubled the number of scientists with the expertise necessary to detect the chytrid fungus using quantitative PCR techniques. We plan to offer the course again in Bogota, Colombia in late 2010.

We have also made publicly available our complete protocol for the detection of the chytrid fungus using quantitative PCR techniques. This is the most thorough and detailed protocol in existence, and it is available for free on our quantitative PCR webpage.