Saturday, February 17, 2007
Mystery killer fungus attacks frogs (OH NO !! SAVE THE FROGS!!!)
Mystery killer fungus attacks frogs
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Experts from around the world are launching a campaign to tackle a mysterious killer fungus - which threatens to make frogs extinct.
The strange fungus has wiped out 170 species of frog in the last decade and an additional 1,900 species are threatened, but nobody has yet found a cure.
Now scientists are meeting to organise a worldwide effort to fight it.
They are also asking zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens to take in threatened frogs until the fungus can be stopped.
The group, called Amphibian Ark, hopes to prevent the world's more than 6,000 species of frogs, salamanders and wormlike sicilians from disappearing.
They will meet in Atlanta in the US.
Joseph Mendelson, curator of herpetology at Atlanta zoo and an organizer of Amphibian Ark, said: 'This is the precedent of a disease working its way across an entire species on the scale of all mammals, all birds or all fish.
'Humans would be absolutely stupid if they didn't pay attention to that.'
Amphibians - of which frogs make up the majority - are a vital part of the food chain, eating insects that other animals don't touch and connecting the world of aquatic animals to land dwellers.
Without amphibians, the insects that would go unchecked would threaten public health and food supplies.
Amphibians also serve important biomedical purposes. Some species produce a chemical used as a pain reliever for humans; one species is linked to a chemical that disables the virus that causes AIDS.
Amphibian Ark wants zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums in each country to take in at least 500 frogs from a threatened species to protect them from the killer fungus, which is called chytrid fungus.
Each frog would get cleaned to make sure it doesn't introduce the scourge into the protected area.
The group estimates it will cost between $400 million and $500 million (£200 million to £250 million) to complete the project. It is launching a fundraising campaign next year.