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Tag Archives: Amphibian Conservation

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Amphibian Declines – Pollution Worsens Disease and Parasite Attacks

Deformed FrogHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  In 1990, the IUCN’s Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force, to which I belonged, was one of the few large scale efforts addressing what is now known as the “Disappearing Amphibian Crisis”.  Today, with legions of biologists and hobbyists at work on the problem, we still do not fully understand why nearly 200 species have become extinct in the last 20 years – a rate 200x that of what might be “expected”.  But we do have some insights, one of which was highlighted in a recent journal article (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Biology) .  It appears that stress, much of which is in response to what we are doing to amphibian habitats, is worsening the effects of normal pathogens and diseases.

Parasites and Insecticides: a Confusing Scenario

As the reality of worldwide amphibian declines became apparent, herpetologists and private citizens began noticing increasing numbers of deformed and dead frogs. In 1995, school children in Minnesota made headlines when they found dozens of deformed frogs in a local pond. Since several chemicals are known to cause growth abnormalities, researchers began focusing on pollutants. At the Bronx Zoo, I worked with a veterinarian who studied African Clawed Frogs, and was amazed to see ovaries develop in males that had been exposed to Atrazine (a common insecticide). Read More »

Reptile and Amphibian Conservation in the USA – 2012 Update

Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.  The global extinction crisis faced by amphibians has been much in the news in recent years, as have threats to sea turtles, Madagascar’s tortoises, Asia’s freshwater turtles and other long-suffering groups.  In the USA, a number of reptile and amphibian species are also in dire straits despite, in some cases, federal protection.  I hope this article inspires both hope and action in my many conservation-minded readers.

Unprecedented Agreement May Help 757 Species

Following a slew of lawsuits by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), the Federal government has agreed to speedily consider protecting an additional 757 native species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The CDB employs an attorney who deals solely with amphibians and reptiles, and the agreement is said to be “airtight” and legally enforceable. 

This agreement is an important step, as the ESA is our most powerful wildlife law.  Indeed, ESA listings have proven vital to the continued survival of many species.  For example, a recent CBD study of 110 ESA-protected species showed that 90% of them were recovering “on time”, according to the goals set at the original listing…not bad, considering what is happening to rhinos and other “protected” species elsewhere! Read More »

Pet Industry Responds to Amphibian Crisis and Proposed Trade Restrictions

Pine Barrens Tree FrogHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  In terms of the number of species and countries affected, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (“Chytrid fungus” or Bd, for short) is the most devastating wildlife disease ever identified.  It is currently sweeping through frog and salamander populations worldwide, and is responsible for the decline or extinction of at least 250 species

Your Comments Needed

Concerns that the transportation of live frogs, salamanders and frog legs is aiding the spread of both Bd and another deadly disease, Ranavirus (please see the article below), prompted the US federal government to propose new regulations that could limit the trade in most amphibians.

Notice of these regulations is now posted in the Federal Register.  Interested persons and organizations, both professional and amateur, are invited to comment.  Commenting is easy…simply click here and you will be taken to a form that can be used to register your opinions. 

The comment period closes on Thursday, December 16, 2010.

The Pet Industry Weighs-In 

Edible FrogThe Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) has responded to the crisis by establishing the “Keep Your ‘Phibs Bd-Free Campaign”.  The campaign is an intensive effort to promote awareness of the problem, disseminate captive care information and provide alternatives to the release of unwanted pets (a possible source of new Bd infections).  You can learn how to become involved here.

PIJAC representatives also attended a major conference on the subject, and are now involved in cooperative programs with over 200 zoos, aquariums, private amphibian keepers, government agencies and universities.  You can read more about theses efforts here.

Bd and its fallout is the most important issue facing amphibians and those who care about their future.  Please, make no mistake, this is a full-blown crisis.  Please consider reading the following articles and becoming involved…I’ll be happy to assist in any way possible.  Please write in with your questions and comments. 

Thanks, until next time,
Frank Indiviglio

Further Reading

US Government Seeks Comments on Amphibian Trade Restrictions

Disease and Amphibians in the Fish Bait Trade

Successful Bd Treatments

Amphibian Ark Bd Update on the federal proposal
Edible Frog in Estonia image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Elina Annusver

Kihansi Spray Toads, Extinct in the Wild, Return to Africa

Kihansi Spray Toad
Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.  In the year 2000 I had the good fortune to work with the world’s sole surviving group of Kihansi Spray Toads (Nectophrynoides asperginis).  Last seen in the wild in 2004, and declared extinct in nature soon after, the 499 individuals sent to the Bronx and Toledo Zoos represented the species’ last chance.  Recently (August, 2010), I received the pleasant news that a group was sent back to Tanzania for possible reintroduction. Read More »

US Government Seeks Comments on Proposed Amphibian Trade Restrictions

Clawed Frog FemaleHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Some time ago I posted an article concerning possible new Federal regulations that could limit the trade in live amphibians (read it here), and promised to notify folks when the government asked for public comments.  That time is now upon us.

The Proposal – History and Intent

The proposed regulations stem from concerns that the trade in live frogs and salamanders (and frog legs) is aiding the spread of 2 deadly amphibian diseases, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (“Chytrid fungus” or Bd) and Ranavirus (please see the article mentioned earlier for details).   Read More »

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