Britain’s toads at risk

Britain’s toads are at risk from a deadly infection that has caused the extinction of many other amphibians. The chytrid fungus, or Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (BD) was brought into the UK by imported frogs.

Infected toads are currently confined to Kent but, according to the Royal Society Journal report, the BD infection could wipe out the toad population if it spreads. One third of all losses of amphibian species are because of BD.

Toads infected with BD suffer from skin conditions. BD can infect the skin of frogs, toads, salamanders and newts.

Tighter controls of the aquarium trade, and the testing of all amphibians entering the country may help prevent such outbreaks, say experts.

Imperial College scientist Dr Matthew Fisher said: ‘Under the worst case scenario, you could lose the common toad in the UK ? We strongly suspect BD is being introduced into the UK on a daily basis through the amphibian trade. Our borders are wide open to the introduction of this infectious disease.’

Wildlife charity Froglife said in a statement: ‘It is thought that it could have been brought to the UK by exotic pet species, such as the African clawed toad, that have escaped or been deliberately released. It is vital strict controls on the health of imported animals are in place to help limit the spread of this devastating disease.’

Britain’s toads are at risk of extinction from this deadly infection, chytrid fungus, or Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (BD), but the frogs that are thought to have brought it in are now dead, and scientists are waiting to see if it has spread.

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