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Despite Deadly Fungus, Frog Imports Continue
#1
Hey Dr. KK.....focus on the Bullfrog / food trade and where the main problem is....


Despite Deadly Fungus, Frog Imports Continue

By John Upton, San Francisco, 4/7/12, Bay Gazette, Reprinted in NYTimes U.S. Blog.

A clerk serving Cantonese-speaking customers at a cluttered market in San Francisco’s Chinatown reached into a tub of American bullfrogs. She drew a one-pound frog from the top of the pile. She whacked its head, sliced its neck and placed its body in a plastic grocery bag.
A Chinatown seafood-store sign warns that releasing frogs into the wild is illegal.
More than half the frogs imported into San Francisco every year carry the chytrid skin fungus.
The frog cost about $4. If it was sautéed, stir-fried or cooked in a clay pot and served with rice and vegetables, it could provide enough poultry-flavored white meat for a meal for at least two people.
Tests on the bullfrog by Raul Figueroa, a researcher at San Francisco State University, confirmed that it was infected with an invisible but virulent fungus. The chytrid skin fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or B.d., is harmless to humans but may have wiped out hundreds of amphibian species. Two other bullfrogs that The Bay Citizen bought from other Chinatown markets also tested positive.
The disease appears to affect only amphibians, and some species are immune to its effects while others succumb rapidly. It causes the amphibians’ skin to thicken and leads to cardiac arrest.
American bullfrogs are native to eastern North America but are reared in factory farms around the world. Two million bullfrogs are imported into the Bay Area every year, according to federal import records, and millions more are shipped to other major cities.
Scientists and conservationists fear that the global trade could lead to the extinction of countless species of frogs and salamanders. Amphibians play subtle but substantial roles in California’s ecosystem, eating insects and feeding wildlife.
American bullfrogs are an invasive species in California. State law requires markets to kill the bullfrogs when they are sold, although pet stores are allowed to sell them alive. Yet the bullfrogs make their way into rivers and lakes, where they spread the disease and devour everything from native tadpoles to ducklings.
Some of the bullfrogs that are free in the Bay Area are former pets. Buddhists may have released others during traditional ceremonies that liberate living creatures. Once in the environment, the frogs can reproduce.
Efforts to ban the live bullfrog imports have been strenuously opposed by Chinese-American leaders who defend their communities’ rights to a traditional part of their diet.
A study of 493 fresh-bought frogs from San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York found that 62 percent were infected with the chytrid fungus.
“We don’t know if the bullfrogs contributed to the introduction of B.d. into the U.S.,” said Lisa M. Schloegel, a disease ecologist and lead author of the study, which was published in the journal Biological Conservation in 2009. “But the bullfrogs are a constant source of infection.”
Vance T. Vredenburg, a biology professor at San Francisco State University who specializes in amphibians. said he had seen “literally hundreds, and tens of thousands” of dead animals on the shorelines of lakes. “With this fungus pathogen, we have something the world has never seen before,” he said. “It’s jumping from species to species to species, and we have very little predictability about what species it’s going to have an effect on.”
American bullfrogs survive the pathogen but can transfer the fungus spores to other, less fortunate species. The fungus has torn through the Sierra Nevada, leaving the once-abundant mountain yellow-legged frogs on the brink of extinction.
Proposals to ban the live imports into California were initially pushed forward by conservationists and animal rights groups in the mid-1990s. A few years later, scientists perplexed by worldwide amphibian deaths discovered B.d.
Assemblyman Paul Fong, Democrat of Cupertino, who championed a bill last year that outlawed the sale of shark fins, opposes a ban on live frog imports. So does Senator Leland Yee, Democrat of San Francisco.
“It’s a food stock that many Chinese-Americans rely on,” Mr. Yee said.
Pius Lee, chairman of the Chinatown Neighborhood Association in San Francisco, said he warned Buddhists that “pro-animal groups are watching you” and suggested they free animals from containers without releasing them into the wild.
But Kerry Kriger, an ecologist who founded the Santa Cruz-based nonprofit Save the Frogs after studying B.d. in Australia, said regulations were needed.
“People set them free on purpose. They escape, and the water they’re held in has chytrid in it — and that gets flushed out into the environment,” Dr. Kriger said. “You can ship in as much chytrid fungus into the United States as you want right now, and that’s what people do with the bullfrogs.”
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#2
How about eating some chicken? Tastes just like frog I hear.

So what does the statement "free animals from containers without releasing them into the wild." mean?
Jon
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#3
Guys there are many nasties coming from EU esp. Germany plus from exporters in the US.
Maybe they were there before the export or import who can prove it either way.
Still a responsibility of all hobbiests to QT and test for the serious contaminants like and ranavirus plus coccidia (these have no cure, coccidia can be put into remission with meds ranavirus has many strains and is non curable).
The tests for ranavirus and chytrid can be done via swabbing and sent to a PCR lab.
Other test that should be done are fecals for parasites and coccidia. Three clean tests 2 weeks apart.
IMO the tests should be done for chytrid and ranavirus before any import and export even between state lines.
This is IMO to prevent the cross contamination to the hobby and the environment ie. wild frogs.
-Beth
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#4
Tainted Toes- Geese are carrying frog-killing fungus on their feet.

Scientists have found one more way that a deadly fungus may be spreading among amphibians: via the toes of wild geese.
The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a well-known killer of amphibians around the world. How the pathogen is transmitted, though, is less clear. Infected amphibians without symptoms are probably contributing to the spread, but scientists haven’t been sure if other species are also to blame.
Researchers tested 397 wild geese from Belgium and found that 76 birds were carrying B. dendrobatidis on their toes. Lab tests showed that goose toe scales tended to attract the fungus, the team reports in PLoS ONE. The fungus could also survive in dry conditions on the toe scales for half an hour, long enough for geese to fly 30 kilometers.
Geese might not come into contact with amphibians that often: the birds flock to wetlands, rivers, and lakes rather than ponds. But when the two groups of animals do mix, the geese’s funky feet may be helping to transmit the pathogen. — Roberta Kwok | 17 April 2012
Source: Garmyn, A. et al. 2012. Waterfowl: Potential environmental reservoirs of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. PLoS ONE doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035038.

If there is a better place for this feel free to move it. I just pasted this from Phils Herp-Digest thread. 19% of the geese tested carried BD. I don't know how it is in other parts of the country. Here in the Chicago suburbs, Canadian geese can now be found year round. In every golf course, subdivision with a retention pond, roadside ditch, office park, EVERYWHERE!! What if 20% or more of them are carrying BD? Our native ecosystem would be in huge trouble. It seems to me that the goose population has exploded into the predator free suburban environment. A whole new industry has sprung up, goose removal. In fact if you want an investment opportunity, buy a few pairs of swans. Better yet start hunting geese.
Jon
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