Glimmer of hope for mountain chicken frog which was once a national dish


The mountain chicken frog, known locally in Dominica as “crapaud,” used to be a popular dish and even considered the country’s unofficial national dish. People would cook it in various ways, such as in a stew or fried, and some said it tasted like chicken. However, over the years, the mountain chicken frog has disappeared from dining tables, and younger generations may not even know about it.

The decline in the mountain chicken frog’s popularity is mainly due to a disease called chytridiomycosis, which affects amphibians like frogs. The disease spread quickly in Dominica, causing a significant decline in the mountain chicken frog population. In just a year and a half, about 90% of the frogs vanished, leading to their classification as critically endangered.

To understand the situation better, a team of researchers, including wildlife ecologist Jeanelle Brisbane, ventured into the forest to find surviving mountain chicken frogs. However, due to the threat of poachers, they kept the exact location secret. Despite their efforts, only a few frogs were found in the wild.

The chytrid fungus, which causes chytridiomycosis, first appeared in Dominica around 2002. It devastated the mountain chicken frog population, which was already declining due to hunting. Tropical storms like Erika and Maria further worsened the situation, causing more harm to the frogs and their habitat.

Efforts to save the mountain chicken frog are underway through programs like the Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme. However, the population remains critically low, with only a few dozen frogs left in the wild. Captive breeding programs, like the one at London Zoo, offer hope for the species’ survival, but challenges remain.

One positive sign is that some surviving frogs in Dominica have shown resistance to the chytrid fungus. This resistance could be crucial for the species’ recovery. However, more research is needed to understand how to reintroduce the frogs into the wild successfully.

Saving the mountain chicken frog is not just about preserving a species; it’s also about protecting Dominica’s culture and heritage, which are deeply connected to its natural environment. Efforts to save the mountain chicken frog are essential for the island’s ecosystem and its people.


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