The Houston Zoo is part of a consortium whose mission is to rescue amphibian species that are in extreme danger of extinction from amphibian chytrid disease sweeping through Panama. We will focus our efforts and expertise on developing appropriate technologies to control the amphibian chytrid fungus, so that one day captive amphibians may be re-introduced to the wild.
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (“chytrid fungus”, alsom known as Bd) is a particularly deadly disease to amphibians species. Where Bd thrives, generally in moist cool habitats, 50% of amphibian species and 80% of individuals can be expected to disappear within one year (Lips et al. 2006; www.amphibianark.org/pdf/Lips%20et%20al%202006.pdf). Currently it cannot be stopped in the wild and a minority of species seem able to survive with a Bd infection as larvae or as adults and these animals likely serve as a reservoir and vectors for future outbreaks. Notable among resistant species are worldwide invasive pest species including marine toads, American bullfrogs and African clawed frogs.
You can find out more about this disease and how we are working with partners in Panama to protect native amphibians through the following links:
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