SAN RAFAEL, CALIFORNIA– CREA, a Marin based conservation non-profit and Amphibian Survival Alliance partner became the subject of New Scientist magazine’s first photo driven feature in its 60-year history. CREA’s work to save the beautiful, endangered harlequin toad (Atelopus limosus) is offering new hope for the species’ recovery in the face of a devastating disease.
Amphibian populations around the globe have been in free-fall for the last few decades. The culprit, a deadly fungus known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd for short) and identified only as recently as 1997, has been responsible for wiping out many species seemingly overnight.
But in a handful of locations there are, it turns out, a few surprising survivors of this deadly disease.
Conservation through Research Education and Action (CREA), which undertakes amphibian research at their Cocobolo Nature Reserve in Central Panama, recently made a wonderful discovery. Atelopus limosus, one species that is virtually extinct in the wild due to Bd, was reported not only to be surviving the Bd wave but also to be breeding. New Scientist (Aug 15th 2015) recently published an article on these Lazarus Frogs and on the research that is taking place at Cocobolo into why this population, like a few others in Costa Rica, may have survived.
Dr. Michael Roy, CREA’s founder, noted that “uncovering the mechanisms by which these populations survive may be critical for creating a conservation plan for wild amphibian populations and planned reintroduction efforts, in the face of Bd. This discovery has presented us with a golden conservation opportunity but we desperately need funding to take advantage of it and expand our research. The outcome of our work has the potential not only to save A. limosus, but also aid in the management of endangered frogs and toads all over the world.”
“The fact that some of these species are reappearing years or even decades after they were last seen is enormously encouraging,” says Robin Moore, conservation officer with the Amphibian Survival Alliance. “After decades of witnessing rampant declines, these glimmers of hope are much-needed morale boosters.”
CREA is currently seeking international partners to collaborate on research and education programs at the Cocobolo Nature Reserve, especially those that support conservation efforts for Atelopus. Visit www.crea-panama.org to learn more.
CREA is a solutions focused conservation organization that protects endangered tropical forest ecosystems and species in Panama. CREA collaborates with national and international researchers to develop science based approaches to conservation that in turn are leveraged to involve non-experts and students as well as local communities in order to create awareness of the issues and opportunities across a wider audience. CREA manages the Cocobolo Nature Reserve and Biological Field Station in Central Panama which hosts visiting research and student groups. www.crea-panama.org
The Amphibian Survival Alliance is the world’s largest partnership for amphibian conservation, formed in response to the decline of frogs, salamanders and caecilians worldwide. Without immediate and coordinated action we stand to lose half of some 7,000 species of amphibians in our lifetimes. The ASA draws on cutting-edge research to protect amphibians and key habitats worldwide, in addition to educating and inspiring the global community to become a part of the amphibian conservation movement. www.amphibians.org