Confronting chytrid: the fight to save the world’s amphibians

Blue poison dart frog © Pria Ghosh

By |2020-12-17T16:32:43+00:00December 17th, 2020|Amphibians, Extinction, Species, Threats|Comments Off on Confronting chytrid: the fight to save the world’s amphibians

In the 20th century, a new infectious disease emerged and caused an unprecedented environmental catastrophe. Chytridiomycosis, a fungal skin infection, has compounded an amphibian extinction crisis driven by habitat loss, overharvesting and pollution, resulting in 40 per cent of amphibians being threatened with extinction. 

Today, over 20 years after the first chytrid fungus was described, we remain largely helpless when chytridiomycosis emerges in a new area, with no widely applicable mitigation measures and no treatment that offers long-lasting protection. As a last resort, many amphibian species have been saved by establishing ex situ captive populations – how can we return them safely to the wild?