Sometimes finding an amphibian can be like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. As much as you don’t think it’s there, there’s always that nagging feeling that if you just looked a little harder you might just find it.
Amphibians are, after all, often shy, nocturnal creatures that are highly adept at playing hide and seek over vast areas. Although amphibians are threatened globally and many are declining in number, there is always a chance that some of the ones we think have already slipped though the net are still alive and kicking and desperately in need of our help. Others simply have not been seen for a very long time due to limited and/or out-dated research.
PHOTO 1: Hula painted frog (Discoglossus nigriventer): an ancient frog that has not been seen since 1955. Its habitat in the Hula wetlands was drained in the 1950s in an attempt to eradicate malaria and develop agriculture land uses.
In response to the muffled cries of the world’s rarest and least-studied amphibians, Conservation International has launched a campaign to find “lost” amphibians. In their own words:
“Over the next few months, CI is supporting expeditions by amphibian experts in 18 countries across Latin America, Africa and Asia. Led by members of IUCN’s Amphibian Specialist Group, the research teams are in search of around 40 species that haven’t been seen for over a decade. Although there is no guarantee of success, scientists are optimistic about the prospect of at least one rediscovery.
Whatever the results, the expedition findings will expand our global understanding of the threats to amphibians and bring us closer to finding solutions for their protection. Bold conservation efforts are not only critical for the future of many amphibians themselves, but also for the benefit of humans that rely on pest control, nutrient cycling and other services the animals provide.”
May of the top 100 species being sought are on our EDGE lists and some are already considered to be extinct. Rediscoveries of amazing species like the Northern and Southern gastric brooding frogs of Australia or the Hula painted frog of Northern Israel would bring hope to global efforts to stop the extinctions of the world’s incredible and crucially important amphibians. Please follow the campaign at: www.conservation.org/lostfrogs
PHOTO 2: Southern gastric brooding frog (Rheobatrachus silus): females of this extraordinary frog cared for their developing young within their own stomachs by shutting down all digestive processes and fasting for up to 7 weeks. This species has not been seen since 1979. I REALLY HOPE THEY FIND IT!!