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Giant Chicken Frog Teeters on the Brink of Extinction as Lethal Amphibian Fungus Threatens Its Survival

Photo: ZSL

The mountain chicken frog, known colloquially as the “giant chicken frog” due to its chicken-like taste, was once a common sight in Dominica. However, a recent survey has revealed a disheartening reality – only 21 of these unique amphibians remain in this Caribbean island nation.

Giant Chicken Frog Teeters on the Brink of Extinction as Lethal Amphibian Fungus Threatens Its Survival (Photo: Fauna & Flora International)

An International Quest to Save a Quiet Rainforest Symphony

According to the data released by CNN, in October 22, 2023, the decline of the mountain giant chicken frog population by over 99% since 2002, attributed to the deadly Chytridiomycosis fungal disease, has raised alarm bells. This ailment has affected more than 500 frog species worldwide, pushing the mountain giant chicken frog to the brink of extinction. While it once inhabited seven Caribbean islands, Dominica appears to be the last refuge for this remarkable species.

The search for the mountain giant chicken frog in Dominica became a labor of love and necessity, with a research team dedicating 26 days to the mission. Their exhaustive efforts resulted in the discovery of only 23 frogs, with two of them found lifeless on the road. This bleak revelation underscores the urgency of conservation efforts.

Efforts to protect the mountain giant chicken frog and other species impacted by Chytridiomycosis are gaining momentum. While no vaccine exists, the scientific community is exploring various avenues to combat the fungus. Innovative research worldwide delves into frog immunity, genetics, microbiome, and environmental treatments. The Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme, a collaboration of 10 European and Caribbean conservation institutions, is working towards the ambitious goal of restoring healthy frog populations in Dominica and Montserrat by 2034.

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Hope Amidst Desolation – Fighting for the Frogs’ Future

In a recent report published by The Albany Herald, the resilient nature of some individual giant chicken frogs surviving in affected environments provides hope for a brighter future. The captive breeding program, featuring 50 initial frogs at London Zoo, is a step towards preserving the genetic diversity of these remarkable creatures. As the battle against Chytridiomycosis rages on, it’s crucial for individuals to contribute. Biosecurity measures and responsible behavior, like cleaning footwear and safely disposing of waste, can prevent the spread of the disease.

Furthermore, financial support and volunteering with conservation organizations dedicated to safeguarding these unique species play a pivotal role in their conservation. The mountain giant chicken frog, once a symbol of Dominica’s rich biodiversity, now stands as a symbol of hope and resilience in the face of extinction.

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