Frog Fairytale in Fairy Walk's Forests

A February fundraising appeal to unite the last two wild mountain chickens on Montserrat has successfully brought the two frogs together.

The appeal aimed to raise £5,000, enabling us to tell the latest chapter in a fairytale-like story bringing a mountain chicken and her ‘prince’ together. Following an overwhelming response from Durrell supporters, whose enthusiasm to join us in saving the last of a species in their native habitat truly knows no bounds, the funds were raised, allowing the project to go ahead.

Living 700m apart in a rainforested site of Montserrat appropriately known as Fairy Walk, field workers translocated the last female into the territory of the sole remaining male. They will now be monitored, and it is hoped that the reunited pair will breed, spawning precious offspring that will bring hope that their survival in Montserrat can now be achieved.

The project was exclusively covered this week in an article by The Guardian. For more details, please read the article (see link below).

Explaining what the project might mean for the indigenous frog population on Montserrat, Durrell Amphibian Programme Manager Jeff Dawson said: “These two frogs now have a chance of breeding, whereas if we’d left them where they were the poor male would just be sat there calling every night with no one to hear him,”

Mountain chicken numbers have been decimated by as much as 99% in recent years, predominantly due to a devastating fungal disease called chytridiomycosis. There are thought to be just 100 remaining in the wild. Despite this, these two resilient frogs on Montserrat have survived, raising hopes that they possess a resistance that could be passed on to surviving offspring in future.

It is true that the story is not yet over, and a happy ending cannot be assured. Nonetheless, prospects are undoubtedly on the up following this effort. “If they do breed that would be brilliant and a fantastic, good news ray of light for the recovery programme”, Jeff added.

Working alongside our conservation partners, Durrell is committed to ensuring the survival of amphibian species including the mountain chicken. We are targeting four of the world’s highest priority regions in our SAFE (Saving Amphibians From Extinction) Programme. Find out more about what we’re doing to protect the most threatened vertebrate group in the world, and join our effort, by visiting our Programme home.