Dominica joined Montserrat and Europe in observing International Mountain Chicken Day on Tuesday.
The day was designed to create awareness of the presence of the frog, also known as Crapaud, on the island and other parts of the world.
Activities included an exhibition at the Botanical Gardens where one live mountain chicken was on display. Also on display were crickets, cockroaches’ and millipedes, which are used to feed the frogs at a special breeding facility, also located at the Botanic Gardens.
“Today Dominica is actually observing the International Mountain Chicken Day by having a welcome center at the Botanical Gardens,” Senior Amphibian Technician with Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division, Machel Sulton told Dominica News Online. “So today is an awareness day to acknowledge the presence of the frog in Monsterrat, Dominica and Europe.”
Members of the public, including various schools across the island, are invited to attend the activity which ends at 4:00 pm.
So far over 100 students from different schools around Roseau have visited the exhibition.
Students and teachers of St Martin Primary School and the Convent Preparatory School viewed the exhibition and participated in different activities, including the coloring of Mountain Chicken on coloring sheets. They also visited the science corner where they were taught what is being done when collecting data and information on the animal.
For decades the Mountain Chicken was considered a delicacy and was sought after and savored for its chicken-like flavor. It was considered Dominica’s national dish, forms part of the islands Coat-of-Arms and is used as a logo by several very important Dominican institutions, like the National Bank of Dominica.
But disaster struck in 2002 when Dominica experienced the first 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 creature, whose croaks were heard in many parts of Dominica, hung on the brink of extinction. A breeding facility has since been set up in the Botanic Gardens.
Today, the remaining wild population on the island has been estimated to be no more than a few hundred individuals, making the Crapaud one of the most critically endangered species in the world.