Mountain Chicken Frogs Offspring Return to Caribbean Home
Dozens of frogs reared in UK zoos to escape the deadly chytrid fungus returned to Montserrat
by Adam Vaughan
Dozens of frogs reared in UK zoos have been returned to their Caribbean home in a painstaking operation, five years after their parents were airflifted out to escape a deadly fungus.
A total of 51 Leptodactylus fallax, known as “mountain chicken frogs” because they reportedly taste like chicken and make a clucking-like noise, were released on the Jersey-sized island of Montserrat, a British Overseas Territory.
In 2009, conservationists rescued a population of the critically endangered frogs from the island to avoid them being wiped out by a chytrid fungus which has devastated amphibian numbers worldwide. The mountain chicken frog population has also dwindled due to people eating them – the species is the national dish in nearby Dominica…
(read more: The Guardian UK)
photograph: Gerardo Garcia/Chester Zoo/PA

Mountain Chicken Frogs Offspring Return to Caribbean Home

Dozens of frogs reared in UK zoos to escape the deadly chytrid fungus returned to Montserrat

by Adam Vaughan

Dozens of frogs reared in UK zoos have been returned to their Caribbean home in a painstaking operation, five years after their parents were airflifted out to escape a deadly fungus.

A total of 51 Leptodactylus fallax, known as “mountain chicken frogs” because they reportedly taste like chicken and make a clucking-like noise, were released on the Jersey-sized island of Montserrat, a British Overseas Territory.

In 2009, conservationists rescued a population of the critically endangered frogs from the island to avoid them being wiped out by a chytrid fungus which has devastated amphibian numbers worldwide. The mountain chicken frog population has also dwindled due to people eating them – the species is the national dish in nearby Dominica…

(read more: The Guardian UK)

photograph: Gerardo Garcia/Chester Zoo/PA

A surprising flagship species for restoring a Caribbean paradise

by Dr. Jenny Daltry

The Antiguan racer (Alsophis antiguae) is endemic to Antigua and Barbuda and was abundant until Asian mongooses, Herpestes javanicus, were introduced in the 19th century. The mongooses hunted many native birds, reptiles and amphibians to extinction and reduced the snake population to only 50 individuals on the 8.4-hectare Great Bird Island. The Antiguan racer had thus become the rarest snake in the world.

To save these harmless reptiles from extinction, the Antiguan Racer Conservation Project was formed by a partnership of organisations including Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the local Environmental Awareness Group

The racers on Great Bird Island were safe from mongooses, but lacked room to increase and were being literally eaten alive by another alien invasive species: the black rat.

Project staff and volunteers therefore embarked upon an ambitious programme to eradicate rats using a rodenticide donated by Syngenta. Great Bird Island and an additional 13 islands have been cleared of rats to date. Antiguan racers have been successfully reintroduced to three islands, the largest being Green Island at 45.2 hectares…

(read more: Fauna & Flora International)

photographs: FFI and Wallamalloo69

American Bird Conservancy
Knowing where seabirds travel during breeding and non-breeding seasons is key to understanding the threats they face and subsequently the conservation measures needed to protect these birds. 
View the satellite telemetry tracks of adult Magnificent Frigatebirds tagged at their nesting colony on Great Tobago Island in the British Virgin Islands…
Atlantic Seabirds:  Frigatebirds

Knowing where seabirds travel during breeding and non-breeding seasons is key to understanding the threats they face and subsequently the conservation measures needed to protect these birds.

View the satellite telemetry tracks of adult Magnificent Frigatebirds tagged at their nesting colony on Great Tobago Island in the British Virgin Islands…

Atlantic Seabirds:  Frigatebirds

amnhnyc

amnhnyc:

Expedition Report: Susan Perkins in Saba

In this episode, Associate Curator Susan Perkins describes her long-term study of malarial parasites and their host lizards, work that draws her back again and again to Saba Island—a relatively unspoiled paradise in the Caribbean.

Dr. Perkins is a microbiologist who studies malarial parasites, symbiotic bacteria, and even RNA viruses. Her research includes multiple ways of approaching questions about these microbes, from their evolutionary histories to their genomics.

Listen to more in our Expedition Report series.

Animals and Language
Turns out the ABCs of animal language — from bird chirps to whale song — may be not so random after all. New research suggests there may be an intermediate step on the evolutionary path between the regular grammar of animal communication and the context-free grammar of human language…
read more: National Science FoundationPhoto: A Rufous-collared Sparrow from Curacao. Credit: R. Hays Cummins, Miami University

Animals and Language

Turns out the ABCs of animal language — from bird chirps to whale song — may be not so random after all. New research suggests there may be an intermediate step on the evolutionary path between the regular grammar of animal communication and the context-free grammar of human language…

read more: National Science Foundation

Photo: A Rufous-collared Sparrow from Curacao. Credit: R. Hays Cummins, Miami University

Study Finds, Caribbean Reefs Need Parrotfish, Sea Urchins
by Danica Coto
Colorful parrotfish and spindly sea urchins are the key to saving the Caribbean’s coral reefs, which may disappear in two decades if no action is taken, a report by several international organizations said Wednesday.
The report, which analyzed the work of 90 experts over three years, said Caribbean reefs have declined by more than 50 percent since the 1970s. It said that while many experts have blamed climate change for the problem, a drop in the populations of parrotfish and sea urchins is largely responsible.
Parrotfish and sea urchins feed off seaweed, and a drop in their numbers has led to an increase in seaweed, which smothers coral reefs, Jeremy Jackson, lead author of the report, said…
(read more: SF Gate)
photograph by Wilfredo Lee, AP

Study Finds, Caribbean Reefs Need Parrotfish, Sea Urchins

by Danica Coto

Colorful parrotfish and spindly sea urchins are the key to saving the Caribbean’s coral reefs, which may disappear in two decades if no action is taken, a report by several international organizations said Wednesday.

The report, which analyzed the work of 90 experts over three years, said Caribbean reefs have declined by more than 50 percent since the 1970s. It said that while many experts have blamed climate change for the problem, a drop in the populations of parrotfish and sea urchins is largely responsible.

Parrotfish and sea urchins feed off seaweed, and a drop in their numbers has led to an increase in seaweed, which smothers coral reefs, Jeremy Jackson, lead author of the report, said…

(read more: SF Gate)

photograph by Wilfredo Lee, AP

turtleconservancy
turtleconservancy:

While establishing our assurance colonies with Richard Branson on Necker Island, we were amazed by the thriving population of Anegada Island Iguanas (Cyclura pinguis).
In the early 80s, several Iguanas were taken to Necker Island in an attempt to save the species and since then the population has grown to approximately 150-200 individuals. This Critically Endangered species has been able to recover here because it does not have to compete with livestock for food and there are no feral animals to prey on it. 

turtleconservancy:

While establishing our assurance colonies with Richard Branson on Necker Island, we were amazed by the thriving population of Anegada Island Iguanas (Cyclura pinguis).

In the early 80s, several Iguanas were taken to Necker Island in an attempt to save the species and since then the population has grown to approximately 150-200 individuals. This Critically Endangered species has been able to recover here because it does not have to compete with livestock for food and there are no feral animals to prey on it.