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Native amphibians: Federal agencies urged to protect them from deadly disease

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, September 10th, 2009 at 7:42 am in Defenders of Wildlife.

Pacific treefrog
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Petitions urge protections for native amphibians from deadly disease

This morning I received the following information from Defenders of Wildlife. Please check it out. It is VERY important to the survival of native amphibians in the United States and around the world. Thanks for caring. /Gary

Tiger salamander
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** On September 9, Defenders of Wildlife filed two detailed petitions – one with the Department of the Interior and the other with the Department of Agriculture  – urging them to immediately regulate live amphibian imports in the pet, food, scientific and live bait trades to block the deadly amphibian disease Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, known as “Bd” or as the “chytrid fungus”. The disease poses a major threat to native amphibians, having already driven numerous frog species to extinction worldwide.

** Live amphibian imports are currently unregulated, creating excessive and unnecessary risk that the Bd pathogen will continue to enter, spread within and be shipped out of the United States. This unregulated trade – primarily for pet use and as live animals for consumption as frog legs – threatens the survival of many amphibians, including dozens of U.S. and foreign species listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act.

** Prominent amphibian experts have endorsed these petitions, which provide key factual and legal analysis on how to tackle this emerging epidemic.

Peter T. Jenkins, director of international conservation for Defenders of Wildlife, urges regulation of live amphibian imports to help stem the spread of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis:

“It is critical that the U.S. follow the latest international animal health standards to ensure that the massive volumes of live amphibian imports do not continue to carry this deadly disease. Frogs and salamanders worldwide are going extinct due to Bd infections, but we can help them now by cleaning up this trade. We urge the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to quickly approve the petitions we filed today.”

MORE READING:

Read Defenders’ petition to the U.S. Department of the Interior.
http://www.defenders.org/resources/publications/programs_and_policy/international_conservation/petition_to_interior_secretary_salazar.pdf

Read Defenders’ petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture
http://www.defenders.org/resources/publications/programs_and_policy/international_conservation/petition_to_agriculture_secretary_vilsack.pdf

Read more about Defenders’ work to safeguard amphibians
http://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/international_conservation/amphibians.php

Read Broken Screens, Defenders’ report on improving the regulation of live animal imports http://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/international_conservation/u.s._imports_of_live_animals/broken_screens.php

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come.

For more information, visit http://www.defenders.org

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