Endangered Frogs Flee Fungus by Airplane

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2009 12:45 PM CDT
Workers of the Montserrat's Forestry Department, swabb a mountain chicken frog for Chytridiomycosis fungus during a survey at Pelican Ghaut in the Caribbean island of Montserrat, March 3, 2009.   (AP Photo/Gerardo Garcia, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust)
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(Newser) – Scientists are airlifting dozens of mountain chicken frogs off their Montserrat island home to save them from the deadly fungus overtaking their habitat, the AP reports. The 2-pound frogs are endangered, in part because locals once ate them as a delicacy. The frog is said to taste like—what else?—chicken. Now scientists fear the spreading chytrid fungus could finish them off.

Already 300 dead frogs have been found, and scientists suspect the fungus has killed hundreds more. “Its impact has been catastrophic,” said one zoologist. “The mountain chicken has been virtually wiped out.” Frogs are being flown to temperature-controlled rooms in British and Swedish zoos, where they’re given antifungal baths and cared for by biologists in paper suits.