November 23, 2013 at 1:38 am #1132MikeKeymaster
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Frog species in Yosemite on its last legs
Fungus, trout and warming are wiping out mountain yellow-legged frog
This mountain yellow-legged frog was photographed at a lake in the
John Muir Wilderness in 2002. A fungus is decimating the species and
experts see little they can do to help.
Updated: 9:29 a.m. ET Feb. 13, 2006
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. – The mountain yellow-legged frog has
survived for thousands of years in lakes and streams carved by
glaciers, living up to nine months under snow and ice and then
emerging to issue its raspy chorus across the Sierra Nevada range.
But the frog’s call is going silent as a mysterious fungus pushes it
“It’s very dramatic,” said Yosemite biologist Lara Rachowicz. “One
year, you visit a lake and the population will seem fine. The next
year you go back, you see a lot of dead frogs scattered along the
bottom of the pond. In a couple years the population is gone.”
The chytrid fungus, linked to the extinction of amphibians from
Australia to Costa Rica, grows on frog skin, making it hard to use
their pores and regulate water intake. The frogs die of thirst in the
water, Rachowicz said.
Despite the threat of extinction, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
lacks funds to make the frog an endangered species. Federal officials
also questioned what good it would do, because the fungus isn’t
coming from agriculture or development that can be curbed.
“It’s an act-of-God type thing,” said Harry McQuillen, chief of the
endangered species recovery branch of the agency’s Sacramento
office. “How do you deal with something that seems overwhelmingly out
of your control?”
‘Mass extinction in the making’
The fungus is frightening because it kills frogs quickly even in
untouched habitats, scientists said.
“It’s a mass extinction in the making,” said J. Alan Pounds, who
wrote an article in the journal Nature linking the fungus to global
warming. His research offers the first solid clue to an international
scientific mystery — the disappearance of as many as 112 amphibian
species since 1980.
U.S. biologists will look at breeding the critters in captivity,
which has not been done successfully. They may also re-establish
frogs in areas where they’ve disappeared, and remove more nonnative
trout from some high Sierra lakes. Trout removal has had promising
results in Sequoia and Kings Canyon, but could prove unpopular with
“Recreational fishing is a long-standing, valid activity in the park,
and we recognize that,” said Steve Thompson, Yosemite’s lead wildlife
biologist. “But the park has a dual mission, to protect resources and
provide for their enjoyment. If you don’t protect the resources,
it’ll prevent the enjoyment.”
“Act of God type-thing” comment…B.S! Try act of “CT’s!”
Amphibious creatures everywhere are often the first to show the
effects of the Chems and Global Warming. Many other “frog”
communities in various states, including Arizona, are dying in
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