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Frogs may be able to co-exist with chytrid fungus - study
“Our results are really promising because they lead us to conclude that the El Copé frog community is stabilizing and not drifting to extinction.”

Scientists say infected and uninfected frogs survive at nearly the same rates 

Tropical frogs may have developed the ability to coexist with deadly chytrid fungus, a new study suggests.

In just a few months in 2004, around half the frog species native to El Copé, Panama, went locally extinct due to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

However, scientists now believe that the remaining species may have developed the ability to survive alongside the fungus.

A field study led by the University of Maryland from 2010-2014 suggests that frogs infected with the fungus survived at a nearly identical rate to uninfected frogs.

Scientists say that although there were lots of infected individuals, around 98 per cent of them are infected at very low levels.

It is thought that the frog population stabilised through ‘eco-evolutionary rescue’, whereby some species evolved tolerance to the fungus, while other highly infectious species died off and stopped contributing to the pathogen’s spread. Scientists said the fungus may also have become less virulent.

“Our results are really promising because they lead us to conclude that the El Copé frog community is stabilizing and not drifting to extinction,” said lead author Graziella DiRenzo. “That’s a big concern with chytrid worldwide. Before this study, we didn’t know a lot about the communities that remain after an outbreak. In some areas, it’s still a black box.”

Researchers say it is likely that other hard-hit frog communities elsewhere in the world may have undergone similar adaptations. 

Image © Brian Gratwicke
 

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ZSL London Zoo shares animal X-rays

News Story 1
 A selection of X-ray images showing the inner workings of frogs, turtles, snakes and geckos have been shared by veterinary surgeons at ZSL London Zoo.

Taken as part of a routine health check, the images have been shared as part of ‘Vets in Action’ week - a hand’s on role-playing experience for children that explores the life of a zoo vet.

ZSL London Zoo veterinary nurse Heather Mackintosh said: “It’s great to be able to share the work that goes on behind the scenes at the Zoo to keep our residents in tip-top condition – and our visitors are always amazed to find out more about their favourite animals.” 

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News Shorts
Vets in developing nations given free access to BSAVA’s online library

BSAVA has teamed up with the WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to offer vets in developing nations free access to its online library.

The Association’s ‘Foundation Collection’ is comprised of more than 70 hours of articles, lectures and book chapters covering topics such as basic handling skills, working on a budget and emergency triage. Some of the countries set to benefit include Albania, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania.

Nicolette Hayward, of BSAVA International Affairs Committee said: “Our mission is to promote excellence in small animal practice through education and science, so we are delighted to work with WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to share these high-quality resources to the veterinary profession in low and middle-income countries.”