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Call to strengthen biosecurity to save amphibians
Chytridiomycosis
has led to the decline of at least 501 amphibian species in the past 50 years.
Fungal disease threatens species across the globe

Scientists are calling for improved biosecurity and wildlife trade regulation to further prevent mass amphibian extinctions.

The call comes after a study published in Science found the fungal disease chytridiomycosis has caused death and species extinction on a global scale.

Chytridiomycosis eats away at the skin of amphibians and is present in more than 60 countries. The worst affected parts of the world are Australia, Central America and South America.

In the study, researchers show how the disease has led to the decline of at least 501 amphibian species in the past 50 years, including 90 presumed extinctions.

In Australia, researchers found that the disease has led to the decline of more than 40 frog species in the past 30 years, of which seven species had become extinct.

Lead researcher of the study Dr Ben Scheele said that globalisation and the wildlife trade are the main causes of the pandemic and were allowing its spread to continue.

"Humans are moving plants and animals around the world at an increasingly rapid rate, introducing pathogens into new areas,” he said. "We've got to do everything possible to stop future pandemics, by having better control over wildlife trade around the world."

Dr Scheele added that many species are still at high risk of extinction over the next 10-20 years from chytridiomycosis due to ongoing declines.

"Knowing what species are at risk can help target future research to develop conservation actions to prevent extinctions."

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Wales to ban third party puppy and kitten sales

News Story 1
 The Welsh Government has said it will ban third party sales of puppies and kittens, after a consultation showed overwhelming public support.

A consultation in February received nearly 500 responses, most of whom called for greater action to improve the welfare of cats and dogs at all breeding premises.

Concerns were also raised about online sales, impulse buying, breeder accountability and illegal puppy imports.

A consultation will now be held on plans to implement a ban. Environment minister Lesley Griffiths said she will also revisit the current breeding regulations to improve welfare conditions.  

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WHO declares Congo Ebola outbreak an international health emergency

The World Health Organisation has declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The move comes after a meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for Ebola in the DRC. The committee cited recent developments in the outbreak in making its recommendation, including the first confirmed case in Goma - a city of almost two million people on the border with Rwanda, and the gateway to the rest of DRC and the world.

The committee also reinforced the need to protect the livelihoods of the people most affected by the outbreak by keeping transport routes and borders open.