Categorized | Local, News

More mountain chickens released in the east Centre Hills

Minister Farrell holds frog and prepares to release in the wild

It is not chicken, heifer – cattle, goat, pig or lamb, sheep or fish. It is the mountain chicken, one that will hold the attention of those who like to see ‘frog legs’, or mountain chicken on the menu. It is a delicacy for those who are familiar with its delicate taste.

Besides its commercial and economic value to the tourist industry in particular, it is considered as an endangered species found only in Dominica and Montserrat. It is for these reasons that there has been special interest in its re-introduction to the Montserrat Centre Hills mountains, following the discovery of chytrid fungus in 2009. The Department of the Environment in conjunction with a team of conservationists from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust evacuated 50 frogs off the island to Jersey, United Kingdom where they have been bred in quarantined condition.

It is thus a second batch of captured bred mountain chickens was released into the forest at Sweetwater ghaut on the evening of Thursday, January 26, 2012. Access to the area is made off the road beyond the football stadium.

Minister of Agriculture and the Environment, Easton Taylor-Farrell told those gathered for the release, “The aim of the breeding programme was to produce frogs that are legible to be brought back to Montserrat and release when the environment becomes conducive to the release.

“This pioneer project has resulted in invaluable findings that have caught the interest of scientists worldwide. This release programme in Montserrat and related research on the mountain chicken is essential not only to the survival of this specie but also to other amphibians around the world affected by the chytrid fungus,” he explained.

Members of the media and personnel from the Ministry of Agriculture and international Durrell Conservation, local counterparts, for the project and Sarah Lee Smith, gathered at locations at Sweetwater ghaut to witness these gigantic amphibians returned to their natural habitat.

Stephen Mendes who has been working with the projects involving the mountain chicken welcomed the gathering, acknowledging the Minister. He told them, ”This is one of two phases of release for this year and we do hope it will be successful. There are a lot of unknowns in this project that we are doing, but eventually, and inevitably all the information and data that we are gathering would be for the better good, of not just for frogs in Montserrat, but frogs the world over.”

Before performing the honours of releasing the first of the batch of the amphibians, Minister Farrell thanked the department of environment and the mountain chicken project team for, “their hard work and successes during this phase of the project,” as he extended best wishes and continued success.

He closed with an admonishment. “If you happen to visit the forest for any reason I admonish you to embrace the concept of taking nothing but picture and leaving nothing behind but foot print. Adopting this concept will go a long way in ensuring that the integrity of the forest is maintained thus enhancing the survival of not just the mountain chicken but other spices in the forest.”

The batch of frogs were released at three different locations on the hill.

See for further information on the mountain chicken: Update on Montserrat -http://www.mountainchicken.org ; and http://www.durrell.org/animals/amphibians/mountain-chicken/

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Minister Farrell holds frog and prepares to release in the wild

It is not chicken, heifer – cattle, goat, pig or lamb, sheep or fish. It is the mountain chicken, one that will hold the attention of those who like to see ‘frog legs’, or mountain chicken on the menu. It is a delicacy for those who are familiar with its delicate taste.

Besides its commercial and economic value to the tourist industry in particular, it is considered as an endangered species found only in Dominica and Montserrat. It is for these reasons that there has been special interest in its re-introduction to the Montserrat Centre Hills mountains, following the discovery of chytrid fungus in 2009. The Department of the Environment in conjunction with a team of conservationists from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust evacuated 50 frogs off the island to Jersey, United Kingdom where they have been bred in quarantined condition.

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It is thus a second batch of captured bred mountain chickens was released into the forest at Sweetwater ghaut on the evening of Thursday, January 26, 2012. Access to the area is made off the road beyond the football stadium.

Minister of Agriculture and the Environment, Easton Taylor-Farrell told those gathered for the release, “The aim of the breeding programme was to produce frogs that are legible to be brought back to Montserrat and release when the environment becomes conducive to the release.

“This pioneer project has resulted in invaluable findings that have caught the interest of scientists worldwide. This release programme in Montserrat and related research on the mountain chicken is essential not only to the survival of this specie but also to other amphibians around the world affected by the chytrid fungus,” he explained.

Members of the media and personnel from the Ministry of Agriculture and international Durrell Conservation, local counterparts, for the project and Sarah Lee Smith, gathered at locations at Sweetwater ghaut to witness these gigantic amphibians returned to their natural habitat.

Stephen Mendes who has been working with the projects involving the mountain chicken welcomed the gathering, acknowledging the Minister. He told them, ”This is one of two phases of release for this year and we do hope it will be successful. There are a lot of unknowns in this project that we are doing, but eventually, and inevitably all the information and data that we are gathering would be for the better good, of not just for frogs in Montserrat, but frogs the world over.”

Before performing the honours of releasing the first of the batch of the amphibians, Minister Farrell thanked the department of environment and the mountain chicken project team for, “their hard work and successes during this phase of the project,” as he extended best wishes and continued success.

He closed with an admonishment. “If you happen to visit the forest for any reason I admonish you to embrace the concept of taking nothing but picture and leaving nothing behind but foot print. Adopting this concept will go a long way in ensuring that the integrity of the forest is maintained thus enhancing the survival of not just the mountain chicken but other spices in the forest.”

The batch of frogs were released at three different locations on the hill.

See for further information on the mountain chicken: Update on Montserrat -http://www.mountainchicken.org ; and http://www.durrell.org/animals/amphibians/mountain-chicken/