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

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid