Mountain Chicken Breeding
Chytridiomycosis, a fungal skin condition, is threatening remaining populations of unique amphibian species in the Caribbean. One of the most cherished of these is the large 'Mountain chicken' that holds a special cultural importance in Dominica, but it is now Critically Endangered. Rescued individuals have been housed in ZSL London Zoo and recently managed to breed for the first time.
Frogs airlifted from a disease-ravaged island in the Caribbean have successfully bred for the first time at ZSL London Zoo.
Delivering a massive brood of 76, from just two females, the critically-endangered mountain chicken frogs’ offspring will be released back into a protected and disease-free area of the wild when they are fully grown.
The parent frogs were dramatically rescued from the island of Montserrat, in order to preserve and develop a healthy population of the animals which were otherwise facing extinction from the rapid spread of the Chytrid fungus; a disease fatal to most amphibians.
The female makes a foam nest to keep the eggs moist Housed in a bio-secure, temperature-controlled breeding unit at the Zoo, she laid the eggs in a self-made foam nest and guarded them closely as they developed into tadpoles. Demonstrating fantastic mothering skills, she then fed the tadpoles every three to five days with unfertilised eggs.
This is a breeding first for ZSL, and is a great achievement. 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 individuals is an incredible lifeline for the mountain chicken frog.
Mountain Chickens are one of BIAZA's 'Top ten species dependent on BIAZA zoos' for 2012.
See the fantastic video of the mountain chicken tadpoles feeding on infertile cloacal eggs their mother is releasing for them: