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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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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”