In Dominica, New Hope for the Mountain Chicken

By the Caribbean Journal staff

There’s hope for the Mountain Chicken.

Numbers of the endangered Mountain Chicken frog that calls Dominica home are slowly recovering, according to the island’s government.

Amphibian Technician in Dominica’s Forestry Division, Machel Sulton says the Mountain Chicken, also known as the Crapaud, is slowly seeing a growth in numbers after the Chytridiomycosis fungus devastated the island’s Mountain Chicken population.

“Through intense fieldwork, we can confirm that we are finding new frogs never found before,” Sulton says. “From since the fungus was discovered on the island in 2002, we are now finding juvenile frogs which means that the population is now slowly recovering. Still it is too early to say that it is fully recovering but there are indicators saying that something is happening in the wild.”

The frog is one of four types of amphibians on the island; while it at one time thrived on other islands, it is now almost extinct.

It is one of Dominica’s national symbols and among the world’s largest frogs.

Before the devastation, the frog was in such large numbers that it was for a long time a popular local dish, noted for its “chicken-like” flavour.

“We can also say based on the study that there are frogs out there living with a low-level of the disease,” Sulton says. “This could be that they are developing some resistance. These are positive signs that the frogs are still out there and are trying to come back.”

 

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