News / Asia

Hunt for Missing Frogs Leaps Across 5 Continents

Some lost species - once believed extinct - are rediscovered

The Rio Pescado Stubfoot toad was most likely a victim of the fungus, Chytridiomycosis.
The Rio Pescado Stubfoot toad was most likely a victim of the fungus, Chytridiomycosis.

Multimedia

Audio
Rosanne Skirble

Research teams have fanned out across the globe in search of frogs that haven't been seen for at least a decade.

The coordinated hunt into remote forests, swampy fields and dark caves underscores the rapid decline of amphibians and the urgent need to protect them. Robin Moore heads the Search for the Lost Frogs Campaign, sponsored by Conservation International and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

He says among the most curious on the list is the once abundant Golden Toad which lived in a protected area of Costa Rica and disappeared in a little over a year.

"In 1989, one individual male turned up at a pool waiting for mates to breed. And that was the last individual ever seen," he says.

Teams are also looking for the Gastric Brooding Frog, last spotted in 1985. Moore says what's unique about this Australian amphibian is its way of breeding. "The females actually swallow the eggs and they develop in her stomach into small frogs which then hatch out through her mouth."

Other amphibians with colorful names like the Scarlet Frog from Venezuela, the Hula Painted Frog from Israel and the Rio Pescado Stubfoot Toad from Ecuador have been given their own search teams. But the outlook is not bright.

One-third of the world's more than 6,000 amphibian species are threatened with extinction, due to disease, habitat loss, pollution and climate change.

Despite the odds, Moore says some teams have confirmed rediscoveries including the small brown Ivory Coast Mt. Nimba Reed Frog, last seen in 1967.

"It's a huge discovery from a scientific and conservation perspective for the team and for us."

But Ivory Coast scientist N'Goran Kouama, who found the frog in a swampy field, worries that if people continue to destroy its habitat the frog will truly vanish. He says its rediscovery promotes a sense of pride over unique African resources. "[It shows] to everyone that we have a heritage here and we must protect it."

Robin Moore on an expedition in search of the Mesopotamia Beaked tToad, last seen in Colombia in 1914.
Robin Moore on an expedition in search of the Mesopotamia Beaked tToad, last seen in Colombia in 1914.

The Mt. Nimba Reed Frog was one of three species rediscovered in recent weeks, along with the pink-footed Cave Splayfoot salamander in Mexico and the florescent spotted Omaniundu Reed Frog in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Moore says the amphibians provide important clues about why some species have survived and others have not.

More importantly, he adds their survival also draws attention to the benefits that a healthy ecosystem provides, not only for frogs, but for people. "[They help] regulate things such as fresh water, rainfall. It's really our support system and we need to take care of it, not just for its good, but for our good as well."

Amphibians also help control insects that spread disease and damage crops. The chemicals in their skins have been important in helping to create new drugs. Although the global campaign ends this month, it has spawned country specific projects that will continue the search while also promoting conservation.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs