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#97 Mountain Chicken

Critically Endangered

Yes, this does not look anything like a chicken. These are one of the largest and rarest of frogs. They are a little over 2 pounds, and can be close to 9 inches long (not including their legs) though are usually more around 7 inches. They come from the Caribbean, but have disappeared from all but the islands of Dominica and Montserrat. They used to be the unofficial national dish on the island of Dominica. it is illegal to hunt them now. While some years up to 36,000 were caught and slaughtered, that is not what made them come close to extinction. There is a fungal infection chytridiomycosis is responsible for the population dropping at heart-breaking speeds. Within just 2 years over 85% of the frogs had died. Their numbers continued to decline and went from tens of thousands to approximately 200 remaining, at which point a captive breeding program was started. Since Hurricane Maria in 2017, there have been none seen or heard in the wild. Scientists have determined that the fungus cannot survive at 87.8°F, a temperature the frogs still consider quite comfortable. It is possible that making a hot spring of sorts for them may help them fend off the fungus and hopefully allow them to survive. My hope is that advances made studying this frog can also help save others. The fungus is killing frogs worldwide.

I love that people are able to travel around the world. It really broadens the mind, and gives you insight into how other people live and think. In some ways though, it is horrible. Frogs are dying across the planet because of fungus that has been spread by people transporting it to new places.

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