The infection has now struck Potholes Reservoir in Grant County, home to Washington’s last remaining population of northern leopard frogs. Oregon spotted frogs, found at only three sites in the state, have been hit with die-offs — and the deadly fungus.
State wildlife managers say they’re concerned but have so far not mounted any coordinated effort to better understand the danger or protect vulnerable frogs and salamanders.
“People are ignoring it,” Wagner said. “But can we afford to do that?”
It may be too late for the state’s leopard frogs, Wagner suspects. Habitat loss and predation from nonnative bullfrogs and fish have already hammered the species. The fungal infection could be the final dagger.
“They are probably doomed.”
But it may be possible to save other amphibians, if researchers can get a better handle on the fungus and the way it interacts with the other threats that have pushed nearly a third of the world’s amphibian species to the brink, he said.