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Petitions urge protections for native amphibians from deadly disease

Regulating live trade could help prevent amphibian extinctions from chytridiomycosis

• On September 9, 2009, Defenders of Wildlife filed two detailed petitions – one with the Department of the Interior and the other with the Department of Agriculture – urging them to immediately regulate live amphibian imports in the pet, food, scientific and live bait trades to block the deadly amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, known as “Bd” or as the “chytrid fungus”. The disease poses a major threat to native amphibians, having already driven numerous frog species to extinction worldwide.

• Live amphibian imports are currently unregulated, creating excessive and unnecessary risk that the Bd pathogen will continue to enter, spread within and be shipped out of the United States. This unregulated trade – primarily for pet use and as live animals for consumption as frog legs – threatens the survival of many amphibians, including dozens of U.S. and foreign species listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act.

• Prominent amphibian experts have endorsed these petitions, which provide key factual and legal analysis on how to tackle this emerging epidemic.

WASHINGTON (August 9, 2009) Peter T. Jenkins, director of international conservation for Defenders of Wildlife, urges regulation of live amphibian imports to help stem the spread of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis:

“It is critical that the U.S. follow the latest international animal health standards to ensure that the massive volumes of live amphibian imports do not continue to carry this deadly disease. Frogs and salamanders worldwide are going extinct due to Bd infections, but we can help them now by cleaning up this trade. We urge the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to quickly approve the petitions we filed today.”

Read Defenders’ petition to the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Read Defenders’ petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Read more about Defenders’ work to safeguard amphibians.
Read Broken Screens, Defenders’ report on improving the regulation of live animal imports

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come.

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