Clauidio Soto Azat EDGE fellow in the Darwin’s frog Project and Researcher at the Universidad Andrés Bello (UNAB) lead a rescue operation of four Darwin’s frogs from a population 10 km south of the eruption of Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano.
On June 4th Chile’s Cordon Caulle fissure in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic complex in the Southern Andes erupted. Two weeks later the direction of the wind changed leading to the large accumulation of ashes and stones within Puyehue National Park. The Darwin’s frog project had detected and monitored three populations of Darwin’s frog in this area. Amphibians and fish are generally the two taxa that are most affected by the ash from volcanic eruptions. The ash affects the chemical composition and level of oxygen in the water sources often resulting in lethal consequences for some aquatic species.
Claudio and the rest of the team decided to rescue some individuals before the volcanic ash made it too late for their survival. They arrived in time, but it was difficult to find the frogs. The volcanic ash covered the habitat and since it was winter the frogs were hibernating. After a long and tough session they were able to rescue 4 adult individuals, apparently 2 males and 2 females. They will have to wait until summer when reproductive activity begins, to be sure about the sexes.
The rescued individuals were included in the Darwin’s frog breeding Project of the University of Concepción. If the endangered Darwin’s frogs become extinct from the Puyehue area they will use the captive population to reintroduce the species in the future.
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