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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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Dogs Trust announces winners of vet student awards

News Story 1
 Cambridge vet student James Jewkes has been awarded first place in the annual Dogs Trust EMS Awards, for his paper on the threat of exotic infectious diseases in rehoming centres. James will now go on a two-week placement at the WVS International Training Centre in South India.

Each year the awards allow vet students to gain hands-on experience during work placements at 13 of the charity’s rehoming centres, then submit reports on a relevant subject.  

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News Shorts
Former RCVS president to chair new Horse Welfare Board

Former RCVS president Barry Johnson has been appointed as the independent chair of a new Horse Welfare Board. Barry, who is also past chairman of World Horse Welfare, was selected by an industry panel including the British Horseracing Authority, the Racecourse Association and The Horsemen’s Group.

The welfare board aims to develop a new welfare strategy covering the whole racing industry. Mr Johnson said: “I’m very pleased to have been asked by racing to take on this role and by the sport’s commitment to continuous improvement in the welfare of racehorses."