Dr Mike Hudson of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust was recently on island to work with members of the Department of Environment (DOE) to continue planning the next stage of the long term mountain chicken recovery programme.
Years of mountain chicken data has been analysed in relation to the reintroduction of mountain chickens back to Montserrat from the breeding programme in Europe. Pertinent information on the disease called Chytridiomycosis, caused by the Chytrid fungus has been studied and scientists believe that they may actually be in a position to control certain parameters to slow the spread of the disease thus increasing the chances of the frogs’ survival.
Studies have shown that the fungus is very sensitive to temperatures above 28°C. As a result, Both Durrell and the Department of Environment are planning to build an enclosure in the forest on Montserrat within which the environment can be controlled to make it less “disease suitable”.
The programme will also include the construction of an insect breeding facility to ensure the reintroduced captive bred mountain chickens are well fed in their enclosure. It is hoped that the infrastructure would be in place to receive the frogs within two years. The DOE will update the public as that time draws closer. It is hoped that this project will provide opportunities for the involvement of people locally and abroad who share a vision passion for bringing the mountain chicken back to Montserrat.