The 2nd Annual Mountain Chicken organized by the Forestry and Wildlife Division will take place at the Botanic Gardens in Roseau on Saturday, September 13.
It forms part of a project organized to sensitize the general public about the plight of the Mountain Chicken.
A press conference was held on Thursday to update the public on the projects’ attempt to save the species.
In 2002 the deadly Chytrid fungus hit Dominica’s Mountain Chicken, reducing the resident population to 80 percent in just 18 months.
Mountain Chicken Day will take the opportunity to sensitize the public on ways they can assist with the conservation efforts since this depend on the support of all Dominicans, organizers said at the press conference.
Project Worker of Dominica Mountain Chicken Project, Alex Blackman of the Zoological Society of London, said that one of the core parts of that project is to find out if surviving frogs are developing resistance to the fungus.
“The core part of the project in terms of the field work is to find out whether the surviving frogs are they developing a resistance … we are hoping to find out how many frogs are left,” he explained.
He revealed also that there are wild populations of frogs still out there that are seemingly healthy.
“But we must emphasize that these are small populations,” he pointed out. “From the time we have been monitoring, from the beginning of January, we found less that 100 frogs.”
He stated further that some of the frogs found appear to be living with the fungus but said this is based only on preliminary analysis.
“There is one frog in particular, when he was first caught he had lethal levels of Chytrid on his skin. Now it seems that those levels have gone down,” Blackman explained.
Meanwhile, Amphibian Technician of at Forestry, Wildlife & Parks Division, Machel Sulton, there are a number of measures being taken to save the Mountain Chicken, known locally as ‘Crapaud.’
He noted that a captive breeding facility has been built in the Botanic Gardens which currently houses 11 frogs.
Sulton noted that in addition to the deadly fungus, the Moutain Chicken faces many other challenges.
“One of the threats is hunting. Person do actually hunt for consumption and they were both hunted by license hunters and illegal hunters,” he explained.
Other threats include pollution and invasive species, according to Sulton.
The Crapaud, Leptodactylus fallax, is the largest native frog in the Caribbean.
It was considered a delicacy in Dominica and for years was the island’s unofficial national dish.
After the Chyrid fungus destroyed more than half of the population, the government made it illegal to hunt the frog.
It is now classed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list.