One of world's most endangered frog species bred at London Zoo
PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 August 2012
Frogs dramatically rescued from a disease-ravaged Caribbean island have been successfully bred at London Zoo - delivering a massive brood of 76 offspring.
The parent frogs were airlifted from the island of Montserrat to preserve a population rapidly facing extinction.
The frogs are dying out due to the spread of a disease called Chytrid fungus that is fatal to most amphibians.
Housed in a bio-secure and temperature-controlled breeding unit at the zoo in Regent’s Park, the mother frog laid the eggs in a self-made foam nest and guarded them closely as they developed into tadpoles.
The first episode of TV series The Zoo, which has documented the breeding triumph, was aired on ITV1 on Sunday.
Dr Ian Stephen, curator of herpetology at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), said: “To say we’re delighted by this accomplishment is an understatement to say the least.
“These frogs are one of the most endangered animals on the planet, facing a range of threats from habitat loss to over-hunting and, most notably, the spread of the Chytrid fungus.
“To have increased their numbers by 76 is an incredible achievement for ZSL London Zoo and an incredible lifeline for the mountain chicken frog.”
London Zoo is the only place in the world to house mountain chicken frogs from both Dominica and Montserrat in its captive breeding unit. In total, 50 frogs were saved from the island.
Bio-security measures at the zoo include keepers wearing full paper suits, masks and gloves to ensure that no viruses or bacteria can enter the frogs’ enclosure from outside.