Conservation Efforts to Save Dominica’s Mountain Chicken Continues
Dominica continues to work feverishly in its efforts to save, the mountain chicken from extinction, after its numbers began to decline when the species was infected with a fungus disease back in 2002.
According to Mr. Luke Harding, a volunteer with the Zoological Society of London, (ZSL) who is currently on Island working with the Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division in their efforts to save the mountain chicken, “this project is very important.”
This disease is a global threat for amphibians. It does not affect all amphibians but unfortunately the mountain chicken is one of those affected.
The collaboration with ZSL and the Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division, began in 2005 when they immediately commenced work to save the mountain chicken.
The project consists of three areas; monitoring, tracking and conducting health checks on the wild mountain chickens on the Island.
They are also studied for breeding patterns, while testing for the presence of the fungus disease.
The idea of these activities is to help build awareness.
Interested persons can also find important information needed to help with the project on their facebook page – Dominica Mountain Chicken Project.
Mr. Harding explained, aside from the fungus affecting the mountain chicken, it faces other challenges including poor land management, the use of pesticides and other chemicals with the main one being illegal hunting.
Mr. Harding said and I quote, “If we all work to save the species, one day we will be able to see them in abundance, like we once did and possibly retake its rightful position, as Dominica’s national dish, while being protected for future generations.”
Currently, mountain chickens can only be found in two Islands in the world, Dominica and Montserrat.
Dominica is said to be in a much better position to revive these species, as Montserrat is believed to have only ten on Island, while Dominica’s population is estimated at 70 to 80.
Juveniles were also found in the wild in 2012 and was viewed as a positive sign of growth, however if humans continue to pollute the environment and illegally hunt the mountain chicken, recovery will not be possible.
The mountain chicken can only breed for fourth months annually – May to August.