Dec 01

Hope for the Frogs

Thanks to the generous support of our patrons and donors from the business community, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has been honored to participate in an international partnership called HARCC (Honduras Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Center) that has been working to reduce the loss of biodiversity in Honduras. Specifically, a team from the Omaha’s Zoo is endeavoring to save three species of frog from the deadly amphibian chytrid fungus, which threatens to wipe them out completely. You can learn more about what we’ve accomplished through our partnership with HARCC so far by clicking here and here.

With all the other things to worry about in the world right now, some might feel that saving a few frog species is pretty low on the list. Well, chytrid has already affected more than 500 species in 60 countries and is still spreading. It is one of the first wildlife diseases that went global before researchers even knew it existed, and it has the potential to affect any one of the 7,000 known species of amphibian. Since frogs help keep drinking water clean and help prevent the spread of diseases such as malaria, dengue, and Zika (by killing mosquito eggs and larvae), their survival is crucial to all of us.

But with the help of our patrons and donors, there is hope. Frogs are most vulnerable to chytrid when they are young, and, once treated, they can be released back into the wild, tagged for future study and no longer in danger of dying from or spreading the disease.  

This beautiful video, shot on location at Cusuco National Park in Honduras, where HARCC has set up operations, highlights the Zoo’s own Brandon Greaves, lead keeper of the herpetology department.  Next week, Greaves, along with our herpetology curator, Jessi Krebs, will be heading back to Honduras to build the final pieces of the rescue center. Our hopes for these frogs and the future of biodiversity will be going with them.