Former volunteer raises funds in London for Mountain Chicken Project

Luke Harding, Senior Reptile Keeper at ZSL, Machel Sulton, Amphibian Tech (In Dominica) and Benjamin Tapley, Head of the Reptile Team/Reptile & Amphibian House at ZSL
Luke Harding, Senior Reptile Keeper at Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Machel Sulton, Amphibian Tech (In Dominica) and Benjamin Tapley, Head of the Reptile Team/Reptile & Amphibian House at ZSL

In an effort to raise funds for the Dominican Mountain Chicken Conservation Project, UK-based Luke Harding, who was once a volunteer on the project in 2014, has partaken in the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon and ran a time of five hours and 34 minutes.

Mr. Harding so far has raised £1,242 which will go towards conserving the frogs species and continued efforts in field research to better understand Chytrid fungus and to continue the monitoring of the surviving population of frogs on the island.

london marathon medalIn an interview with Machel Sulton; the Senior Amphibian Officer with the Forestry Wildlife & Parks Division, Harding said, “It was a good run, as he had a year to prepare for the marathon, lots of training and keeping a proper diet. This run was a remarkable day and a huge personal challenge”.

Mr. Harding continued by saying that “The funds raised will go directly towards the project in Dominica and urge persons to continue supporting the project. What is happening in Dominica is a game changer in terms of conservation and also that there are positive signs, that the frogs are coming back, however its needs local support”

The London Marathon is very popular for being the longest run. Record numbers finished the Virgin Money London Marathon with more than 39,000 completed the grueling 26.2-mile journey from Blackheath to Westminster, making the 36th edition of the race the biggest in its history by almost 1,500 runners.

Eliud Kipchoge came first 1st to smash the men’s course record and become the second fastest marathon runner in history While Jemima Sumgong provided the day’s big drama, turning near tragedy into triumph as she rebounded from a heavy fall to seal the fifth Kenyan double in the event’s 36 editions.

In December 2002, the presence of deadly virus Chytridiomycosis decimated the population by some 80 percent. Today, the remaining wild population in Dominica 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.

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  1. School Child
    April 26, 2016

    Excellent work Mr. Hardin. Preservation of our indigenous wildlife is indeed is indeed an important heritage that we tend to forget. But thanks to your contribution our mountain chicken can survive in its natural habitat for future generations to come. On behalf of Waitukubuli I say thank you.

  2. Onlooker
    April 26, 2016

    Awesome job Luke Harding. Thank you. :-D

  3. Erasmus B. Black
    April 26, 2016

    Thank you Mr Harding for the hard work and dedication towards the survival of our former national dish. Looking forward to the day soon when the Dear Leader will sample some on live TV to assure Dominicans it is safe to eat again and our mountain chicken will then be restored to its former pride of place in Dominican cuisine. Until then congratulations to all involved and thanks again.

  4. Sandra
    April 26, 2016

    For those wondering why the decline of these frogs is an important issue – one reason is the number of ground pests is rising steeply, leading to an increase in the use of pesticides, which of course can be harmful, and even carcinogenic.

    Education of the school children in these matters is key. Look after the Environment, and it will look after you.

    Well done to those at London Zoo for caring about Dominica. A 26 MILE run is a fantastic achievement – almost as long as a direct line from Scotts Head to Capuchin! Thank you.

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