Sunday, 14 August 2016

Stowaway frogs being stopped by border security

Date: August 10, 2016
Source: University of Adelaide

An analysis of stowaway frogs coming into Australia has shown that strict biosecurity measures at borders and within the country are reducing the risk of introduction of new diseases by up to 50%.

The alien frogs could potentially bring in diseases that could devastate local wildlife.

The University of Adelaide researchers, supported by the Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre, developed a model to describe transport pathways into Australia, and the biosecurity activities managing these routes.

They evaluated the capacity of Australian border and post-border biosecurity activities to prevent the introduction into Australia of foreign ranaviruses -- emerging diseases that have been linked to serious declines in native frog populations around the world.

"We have seen the devastating effects of the introduction of these diseases on amphibians and it is unpleasant to witness," says lead author Pablo García-Díaz, a PhD candidate in the Invasion Ecology Group, University of Adelaide.

"We've already seen the example of the introduction to Australia of the fungi Batrachochytrium dentrobatidis, which has been implicated in the extinction of six native frog species and population declines of several others.

"We were concerned that the increasing volume of goods being moved worldwide would result in the introduction of new emerging wildlife diseases."

The researchers found that the arrival of alien frogs and other amphibians as stowaways increased with higher volumes of international traffic by air and sea, with more stowaways on ships rather than airplanes.

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