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Calls to ban trade in amphibians from Asia
International researchers said the study provides strong evidence for banning the trade in amphibians from Asia.
Movement of amphibians ‘directly contributed’ to chytrid spread

A deadly fungus that is responsible for decimating the world’s amphibian populations is now thought to have originated in East Asia.

Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), or chytrid fungus, has long been known as a cause of declines and extinctions in species of frog, toad, newt and other amphibians across several continents. However, its place of origin has remained unclear.

New research published in Science suggests that the human movement of amphibians - for example through the pet trade - has directly contributed to the spread of the pathogen around the world.

International researchers said the study provides strong evidence for banning the trade in amphibians from Asia, owing to the high risk of exporting previously unknown strains of chytrid out of the region.

The research team studied 234 samples of the pathogen from around the world. They identified four main genetic lineages, three of which are distributed globally. The fourth, however, was only found in Korea, on frogs native to the region.

Further analysis revealed that these Korean strains were native to the region, and most closely resemble the ancestor of all modern Bd.

In addition, the findings suggest that the range of the disease expanded greatly between 50 and 120 years ago, which coincides with the rapid global expansion of intercontinental trade.

The study also highlighted another amphibian pathogen, B salamandrivorans (Bsal), which emerged from Asia and is affecting salamanders in Europe. As with Bd, the spread of Bsal is linked with the global trade in pet amphibians from Asia.

Professor Matthew Fisher from Imperial College London, which led the research, said: “Our research not only points to East Asia as ground zero for this deadly fungal pathogen, but suggests we have only uncovered the tip of the iceberg of chytrid diversity in Asia.

“Therefore, until the ongoing trade in infected amphibians is halted, we will continue to put our irreplaceable global amphibian biodiversity recklessly at risk.”

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Amur leopard cubs caught on camera

News Story 1
 A pair of Amur leopards have been captured on camera for the first time since their birth. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland announced the birth in July, but with human presence being kept to a minimum, it was not known how many cubs had been born.

Motion sensitive cameras have now revealed that two cubs emerged from the den - at least one of which may be released into the wild in Russia within the next two or three years. The Amur leopard habitat is not open to the public, to help ensure the cubs retain their wild instincts and behaviour. Image © RZSS 

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News Shorts
New canine and feline dentistry manual announced

A new canine and feline dentistry and oral surgery manual has been published by the BSAVA. Announcing the news on its website, the BSAVA said this latest edition contains new step-by-step operative techniques, together with full-colour illustrations and photographs.

‘This is a timely publication; veterinary dentistry is a field that continues to grow in importance for the general veterinary practitioner,’ the BSAVA said. ‘The manual has been fully revised and updated to include the most relevant, evidence-based techniques.’

The BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Dentistry and Oral Surgery, 4th edition is available to purchase from www.bsava.com/shop