By Beatriz Moisset
Fabulous SAVE THE FROGS! volunteer Rachel Hopkins is saving frogs again in North Carolina! Rachel will present a program on the current status and the future of North Carolina’s amphibian species at the Jan. 28 meeting of Save Our Sandhills. Save Our Sandhills invites the public to Rachel’s presentation at 7 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Southern Pines Civic Club, corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Ashe Street. If you’re in the area, be sure to check out this amazing presentation! For more information about the program and to learn more about the efforts of Rachel Hopkins, check out: https://yourdailyjournal.com/news/20838/teen-conservationist-to-present-program-on-amphibians
Contributed photo of Gov. Pat McCrory signs a bill to add two amphibians to North Carolina’s list of official state symbols on June 26, 2013 as Rep. Marilyn Avila, R-Wake, left, and teen conservationist Rachel Hopkins look on.
Photo by Peter de Koning
Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, or Bsal, is a recently discovered new member of the chytrid family of deadly pathogenic fungi affecting amphibians. True to the name, B. salamandrivorans affects salamanders rather than frogs, like the more well-known Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd, chytrid fungus. This lethal fungus is thought to have originated from Southeast Asia but is now found in Asia, the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium, spread by the pet trade. According to a Science paper published in 2015 by Yap et al., the largest U.S. ports for salamander import, and therefore the most vulnerable to Bsal introduction, are Los Angeles, CA; Tampa, FL; New York, NY; Atlanta, GA; and San Francisco, CA. The U.S. is the world’s salamander hotspot, with 50% of the world’s salamander species.
AmphibiaWeb recommends the following things you can do to protect salamanders:
To find out more, read the most influential scientific articles published to date below:
References compiled by Tariq Stark, writer of the December 2015 SAVE THE FROGS! Magazine article on Bsal and blogger at Amphibian Survival Alliance’s blog
The “megadiverse” frog communities of Madagascar are at risk after discovery of a potentially deadly fungus
Conservationists worldwide mobilize to address emerging threat to more than 500 Malagasy frog species
The amphibian fungus known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which has caused the precipitous decline of frog populations in Central America, Australia, the western United States, Europe and east Africa, has now been detected in Madagascar, according to a new paper released today in the journal Scientific Reports. The paper documents the detection of Bd since 2010 in wild Malagasy amphibians and has spurred conservationists to action in a country that is home to about seven percent of the world’s amphibian species.
“We know how bad this could be, but this time we can still make a difference by preventing the kinds of mass die-offs we’ve seen in other countries,” said Reid Harris, co-author on the paper and director of international disease mitigation for the Amphibians Survival Alliance (ASA). “Together the global conservation community is addressing the emergency at its inception, putting into practice what we’ve learned in the midst of—or even after—extinctions in places like Central America.”
An international team of experts screened more than 4,100 amphibians across Madagascar and confirmed the presence of Bd in five locations across Madagascar. The researchers detected the fungus as early as 2010 in Madagascar’s remote Makay Massif. Now the paper’s authors are working on determining whether the fungus they have detected belongs to the same deadly strain that is threatening to cause the loss of more than 1/3 of the planet’s amphibians.
“Ninety-nine percent of the frogs in Madagascar are only found in Madagascar,” said Falitiana Rabemananjara, coordinator of the Chytrid Emergency Cell in Madagascar and co-author on the paper.
“That means that if the Bd presence in Madagascar is lethal or becomes lethal to frogs, we could lose a significant portion of the world’s amphibian diversity. With an integrative, proactive approach, we are going to do everything we can to prevent that from happening.”
In November of 2014, the ASA provided financial support for ACSAM2 “A Conservation Strategy for the Amphibians of Madagascar,” the second meeting in the last decade to bring together local and international conservationists to address threats to Madagascar’s amphibians. This year’s meeting focused on developing a plan for this emerging crisis, which includes:
The development of an emergency response strategy for the amphibians of Madagascar. The identification of the Bd lineage(s) and characterization of its virulence. The establishment of a national protocol and permit to collect dead frogs from the field. Building captive assurance populations of priority species to weather the storm.
“The loss of Malagasy amphibians is not only important for herpetologists and frog researchers,” said Franco Andreone co-chair of the Amphibian Specialist Group-Madagascar of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), organizer of ACSAM2 and co-author on the paper. “It would be a huge loss for the whole world. Everyone has a role to play if this mammoth of a conservation project is going to succeed.”
The ASA is continuing to coordinate funding for the monitoring of Bd in Madagascar and is also supporting the development of disease mitigation tools. The ASA calls on conservation-minded individuals to help in these efforts by visiting amphibians.org.
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Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA)
The Amphibian Survival Alliance is the world’s largest partnership for amphibian conservation, formed in response to the decline of frogs, salamanders and caecilians worldwide. Without immediate and coordinated action we stand to lose half of some 7,000 species of amphibians in our lifetimes. The ASA draws on cutting-edge research to protect amphibians and key habitats worldwide, in addition to educating and inspiring the global community to become a part of the amphibian conservation movement. www.amphibians.org
Please watch this video I recorded in the swamps of Congaree National Park, South Carolina earlier this month. Thank you to all our supporters worldwide who have helped us grow SAVE THE FROGS! into a worldwide movement and made 2014 such a successful year for us. We look forward to sharing many successes with you in 2015!
SAVE THE FROGS! in Vanity Fair Magazine
Thanks to James Wolcott for highlighting SAVE THE FROGS! in his November 5th, 2014 column in Vanity Fair:
“For the rest of the year, I’m only donating money to SAVE THE FROGS!, Bat Conservation International, The Turtle Conservancy, and School of American Ballet.”
Media release from the National Council of SPCAs in South Africa:
“NSPCA Inspectors responded to an emergency situation on 29 January when – during a routine inspection at one of OR Tambo International Airports cargo holding facilities – an Inspector discovered that an estimated 1,600 reptiles and amphibians were in need of urgent intervention.
The consignment, bound for the United States of America from Madagascar, was left unattended to in the cargo area when flights to the USA were cancelled. The bad smell coming from the sealed animal crates indicated that many of the reptiles were dead or dying and in need of urgent assistance.
Johnson Laboratory, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder
Position 1: Laboratory Research Technician
The Johnson Laboratory is accepting 3-4 qualified laboratory research technicians to assist in the laboratory at the world recognized University of Colorado located in scenic Boulder beginning in May and concluding in August 2014. The primary responsibilities of these individuals will be to perform necropsies on a wide range of amphibian, fish and bird species to identify and quantify macro-parasite infections. This will include (i) isolation of macro-parasites for molecular and morphological vouchers (ii) and use of microscopic photography techniques to identify and document in situ and isolated macro-parasites. In addition these individuals will be expected to assist with daily management of the laboratory and to assist with laboratory experiments. Potential applicants should expect long hours at a microscope. Prior experience with animal necropsy, parasite identification, and laboratory experimentation are required. Salary will depend on experience and housing will not be provided, however it is easy to find a summer sublease near campus.
Position 2: California Field Technician
The Johnson Laboratory is accepting 3-4 qualified field crew technicians to assist in the field sampling season in beautiful Bay Area California beginning in May and concluding in August 2014. The primary responsibilities of these individuals will be to perform an in-depth field sampling protocol focusing on amphibians, fish and invertebrates within pond systems. This will include (i) macro and micro identification of amphibians, fish, invertebrates, and parasites (ii) performing field sampling techniques such as but not limited to: dipnet, seine, visual survey, Bd swabbing, and fishing (iii) and necropsy snail for parasite isolation. In addition these individuals will be expected to assist with daily record keeping and equipment maintenance. Potential applicants should expect long hours in challenging field conditions. Prior field experience with field sampling and snail parasites identification are required. A valid Driver’s license is also required. Lodging will be provided at Blue Oak Ranch Reserve (http://www.blueoakranchreserve.org). Camping is required for this position however there is access to an indoor bathroom including a hot shower, a full kitchen, and internet. Salary will depend on experience.
To apply for either Position 1 (Laboratory Research Technician) or Position 2 (California Field Technician) send an application package that should include (i) a cover letter that states the position you are applying for, previous professional experiences, and why you would like to work for the Johnson Laboratory (ii) a current CV (iii) contact information for three professional references (include email and phone number and (iiii) and potential start date.
Please compile the application package into a PDF (one document) and email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the position number in the subject line by March 3rd, 2013. Candidates who do not follow the application requirements or apply after March 3rd will not be considered.
Australia: Say NO to the Cooroy Broiler Farm! The proposed Cooroy Broiler Farm is a corporate-owned factory farm that will hold thousands of chickens and it is going to be built on a ridgeline that will directly impact endangered amphibian populations. Run off from the farm will bleed into streams that will pollute the habitat of the endangered Giant Barred Frog and the threatened Cascade Tree Frog. Become informed and learn how to help here: www.cooroybroilerfarm.com
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