Disease threatens frogs

FEBRUARY 28, 2008: To help save England’s frogs, toads and newts, amateur amphibian fansare being trained to track a potentially deadly disease that could havea devastating effect on amphibians.

A pioneering project launched by Natural England, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Herpetological Conservation Trust enlisted scores of volunteers to help assess the potential impact of the disease.Around 170 keen volunteers were trained in Coventry and more will follow in the coming months. The project galvanises action on the newly discovered fungal disease, which has already been found in a few ponds in Cumbria and Kent.“After hearing about the population crashes in Australia, finding the fungus here was obviously grim news,” said Jim Foster, of Natural England.“Some amphibians can cope with the fungus, and right now it’s not clear what this really means for frogs, toads and newts in England. That’s why we need help from volunteer frog surveyors.” MORE: www.zsl.org/field-conservation/uk-native-species