Dominica has joined hands with another Caribbean country in a quest to preserve the Crapaud, known in Dominica as the Mountain Chicken, and is seeking to have a permanent ban on the hunting of these creatures.
Speaking to DNO, Amphibian Technician in the Ministry of Forestry Machel Sulton, who recently returned from a four-day Mountain Chicken Recovery Program Workshop in Montserrat; said the two countries are uniting since they face the same plight in terms of the amphibians.
“We have the same problem with Chytridiomycosis facing the mountain chicken and extinction,” he said. “So what we are doing is to plan a recovery program … so we are going to try to see how we can actually tackle all those problems that the Mountain Chicken face and to see how we can go forward in protecting the habitats, see how we can combat the disease and stop persons hunting and so on.”
Sulton said that one of the intentions of both countries is to lobby for the Mountain Chicken to be protected permanently. “One of the main objectives is to try to push for the Mountain Chicken to be a protective species; this means that there will be no hunting of that species.”
He said both countries are pushing for the Crapaud’s protection and plans are already being formulated in that regard.
The Mountain Chicken Recovery Program is a collaboration between the European Conservation Institution and the Governments of Dominica and Montserrat to save the species from extinction.
Global experts, including members of the Dominica Forestry Wildlife and Parks Division, the Zoological Society of London, the Department of Environment and Agriculture, the Water Division of Montserrat Utilities Ltd, Montserrat National Trust, Montserrat Tourism Board, Coral Cay Conservation, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Chester Zoo are all involved in the campaign to preserve the Crapaud.
The Mountain Chicken for many years was Dominica’s unofficial national dish but in 2002, the country experienced a rapid decline of the amphibian’s population due to arrival on the island, of a deadly fungal disease called the Amphibian Chytrid.
This disease wiped out at least 80 percent of the population within 18 months and the Government of Dominica placed a temporary ban on the hunting of the frog.
The rapid decline of the species has forced the authorities on the island to seek a new and permanent national dish.
A breeding facility has been set up for the frogs at the Botanic Gardens in Roseau.