Athletes Foot Fungus Blamed for Killing Frogs Around the Globe

Animal conservationists are scrambling to come up with a solution that would quell the decimation of frog species around the globe which has, in part, been blamed by a fungus that is known to cause the common human condition of athlete's foot.

While biologists contend that frog populations in North America, Europe and Australia are declining, the most rapid decline in frog species is taking place in South America.

Scientist's explained that frogs in Latin America are being wiped out by a fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, sometimes called Bd, which will clog the pores of a frog's skin, leading to death. This is also a fungus that is associated with the common fungal rash known as athlete's foot.

One country that has seen a dramatic decline in amphibious wildlife is Panama and scientists there are trying to increase the population by capturing the frogs and trying to breed them in captivity.

"Usually when Bd appears, it kills everything it is going to kill, and quickly," Roberto Ibanez of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama told The Daily News.

"It kills some species, infects others, who serve as disease vectors, as carriers, so it doesn't go away," he added.

Some scientist's estimate that at least two-thirds of all frog species in Latin America are flirting with extinction, with the once-popular Golden Frog having not been seen in the wild since 2008.

Scientists have been working at El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center in Panama, where biologists have built tanks to hold the frogs and are using different processes to mimic natural occurrences that frogs would be subjected to if they were in the wild.

"We basically have to become really good frog farmers and breed a lot of frogs," Brian Gratwicke, project coordinator for the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project at the Smithsonian, told The Daily News.

"But the last thing we want to do is release these precious, expensive frogs back into wild, just to see them consumed by the fungus all over again," he added.