Words by Michellee Nelson~
Welcome to our new series Island Life spotlighting nature, wildlife and science in the Caribbean. First on our agenda is a beloved figure in the Eastern Caribbean, which now finds itself in a struggle for survival: the mountain chicken.
If you live in Montserrat, you may be wondering why you haven’t been able to get your hands on any fried mountain chicken anywhere lately. That may be because the Mountain chicken (really a giant species of frog native to Montserrat and Dominica) has been on the decline over the past 20 years. The frog, also known as Crapaud and the Giant Ditch Frog was, up until very recently Dominica’s national dish (probably because it’s said to taste just like chicken). But due to over-hunting, disease, and destruction of habitat, the number of Mountain Chicken has declined to 8,000 — an 80% drop in the last two decades
Conservation groups and wildlife preservationists have stepped in to prevent this beloved frog from going completely extinct. As of 2004, the mountain chicken has been placed on the list of critically endangered animals, and efforts have been enacted to prevent it from disappearing altogether. This past September, Dominica hosted its first annual Mountain chicken day to raise awareness of the frog’s plight, and raise funds to study issues surrounding its decline. The event was successful in garnering attention on social media and around the island, but much more needs to be done to prevent their extinction. Check out this video from National Geographic to learn more about the mountain chicken, and visit the Mountain Chicken website to see the latest on preservation efforts.