Helping to protect amphibians from the deadly fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) by:
Raising awareness of the problems posed by Bd;
Disseminating information on husbandry practices that can reduce the spread and
impact of Bd &
Promoting alternatives to the release of unwanted, captive amphibians.
Amphibians are the most threatened group of animals worldwide. In recent decades, scientists have observed precipitous population declines and extinctions of numerous amphibian species. Although habitat destruction is generally regarded as the primary cause of amphibians declines, many of the die-offs have been attributed to a newly recognized, fungal pathogen known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (or Bd for short). The disease caused by Bd, known as chytridiomycosis, is the worst infectious disease ever recorded among wildlife in terms of the number of species impacted and the severity of the impact.
Calling All Amphibian Keepers
Why Captive Amphibians?
- Bd was initially detected in amphibians held in zoos for educational and conservation purposes. It has caused mortality in some collections and could put rare species (including those in captive propagation programs) at severe risk.
- There is increasing evidence that the commercial trade in amphibians for pet/hobby, food, biological supply, and bait purposes has resulted in the movement of Bd. Loss of Bd-infected amphibian in the commercial sector and within hobbyist collections could have a substantial economic impact.
- If unwanted amphibians (e.g., former pets, research subjects, or bait) are released into the natural environment, they could spread Bd or other deadly diseases to wild amphibians (see HabitattitudeTM )
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) launched the “Bd-Free ‘Phibs” campaign on November 5-7, 2007, during an international conference entitled, Amphibian Declines and Chytridiomycosis: Translating Science into Urgent Action, was held in Tempe, Arizona. The meeting was attended by approximately 200 participants representing state and federal agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations, funding foundations, zoos and aquaria, and the private sector. Organizations such as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) became immediate and enthusiastic campaign Partners.