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ZSL Scientific Meeting – Global Amphibian Declines

By on June 12, 2007 in EDGE Updates, Uncategorized

Dates: 12 Jun 2007

Times: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Amphibians are in crisis. Populations are declining at alarmingly rapid rates worldwide and species are disappearing from entire regions.

A greater proportion of amphibians are at imminent risk of extinction than any other animal class, including birds. Some have already been lost forever. While habitat loss, overexploitation and other “usual suspects” are partly to blame, the most significant cause globally is the emergence of the virulent fungal disease, chytridiomycosis; a disease which was unknown until 1998.

P. terribilis

Addressing the threat of chytridiomycosis is not easy. We are used to conserving species by introducing or increasing protection measures of the animals and/or their habitats. Diseases respect neither the law nor protected areas. In fact, many of the most devastating effects of chytridiomycosis have occurred in unspoilt and protected areas, such as rain forest reserves in Australia and Central America.

Although chytridiomycosis can be treated with antifungal medications, it is both impractical and ecologically dangerous to attempt such treatments in the wild. Currently, our only defence is to bring vulnerable species into captivity until alternative approaches are devised. This is a massive challenge to the zoo and conservation research community.

If we are to avoid losing the world’s amphibian biodiversity in the face of this daunting threat, zoos and other conservation organisations need to raise their game to a new level of cooperation along the lines of a Manhattan project-style response for amphibian conservation.

Organised by Dr Andrew Cunningham, Conservation Programmes, ZSL


  • A plague on biodiversity – chytridiomycosis and global amphibian declines
    Dr Andrew A. Cunningham, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
  • Is climate warming triggering chytridiomycosis outbreaks in Spain?
    Dr Jaime Bosch, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, Spain
  • The amphibian extinction crisis – building the ark
    Kevin R. Buley, Curator of Lower Vertebrates & Invertebrates, Chester Zoo
  • EDGE Amphibians
    Helen Meredith, Institute of Zoology, ZSL

Further Information: please contact Joy Miller, Scientific Meetings Coordinator, Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, London NW1 4RY.
Tel:+44 (0)20 7449 6227. Fax: +44 (0)20 7449 6411. E-mail:

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