After a six-year effort, researchers on the Spanish island of Majorca have rid several groups of Majorcan midwife toads of the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis — better known as chytrid fungus, or B.D. It’s the first time the disease, which is devastating amphibians worldwide, has been eradicated in a wild population.
“This is proof of principle that you can go out there and mitigate infections and that the method doesn’t need to be that complex,” said Trenton Garner, a biologist at the Zoological Society of London, who reported the findings with his co-authors in Biology Letters.
B.D. colonizes cells on the outer layer of an amphibian’s moist skin, causing the skin to thicken and interfering with electrolyte transport. The infection leads to cardiac arrest.
The researchers removed the tadpoles and bathed them in antifungals. They also applied low concentrations of a commercial disinfectant to some of the ponds and the rocky crannies around them. Three years on, those three ponds are still fungus free.
States agree on grizzly rules
Wildlife officials have divvied up how many grizzly bears can be killed by hunters in the Yellowstone region as Wyoming, Montana seek control of a species shielded from hunting for the past 40 years, said documents obtained by the Associated Press.
The region’s grizzlies have federal protections, but that could change. The deal puts no limits on grizzly bear hunting outside a 19,300-square-mile management zone centered on Yellowstone National Park. Inside the zone, hunters in Wyoming would get a 58 percent share of the harvest, Montana 34 percent, and Idaho, 8 percent. Wildlife advocates say the bear population remains too small to withstand much hunting.