I had quite an experience with Keerthi Krutha while volunteering on the project "Evaluation and Impact of the Chytrid fungus on Amphibians of the Western Ghats" by the Wildlife Information and Liaison Development (WILD) Society, Coimbatore. The killer chytrid fungus has been responsible for the catastrophic decline and extinction of atleast 200 odd species of frogs worldwide within a mere span of 3 decades! Chytridiomycosis affects amphibians through hyperkeratosis and they begin sloughing off their skin. This messes up their osmotic regulation and eventually leads to their death. The project I volunteered on studied the presence of the fungus in the biologically diverse Western Ghats. (You can refer to their 2013 PLoS ONE paper titled 'Endemic Asian Chytrid Strain Infection in Threatened and Endemic Anurans of the Northern Western Ghats' for the results of their first phase of surveys).
Searching for frogs is a fun activity! It involves you to bend over, placing each foot ahead with a curious tap-tap while examining the ground underneath with the intensity of a hawk-eyed headmistress admonishing a particularly mischievous student. Sometimes you get lucky, and are awarded with a startled frog hopping its way out of those clumsy 'oliphaunt' (Ah LOTR references!) sized feet of yours. Then of course, you catch the fella, molest it with a swab pushed up its thighs ignoring the squirming chap (courtesy Keerthi's imaginative perviness), make an entry into the datasheet, take GPS points and finally, release the indignant frog back where it belongs. 'Frogging' as it is lovingly called, is in stark contrast to 'Birding' where the researcher/bird lover stands a high chance of rolling into a ditch, getting electrocuted by an electric fence, stepping into a puddle of cow urine, falling off a cliff, tripping over roots and other jungle paraphernalia- basically everything that could go wrong when you walk with your head upwards and eyes eagerly scanning the trees for that wonderful and elusive migratory flycatcher.
Ramblings on wildlife sharing spaces with non-wild humans