Colombia: 200 acres preserved for rare amphibians

Colombia has more threatened amphibians than any other country,
largely restricted to highly fragmented subtropical and montane forest
which are unprotected and at threat of agricultural expansion. Within
Colombia the hotspot of threatened amphibians is the Central
Cordillera which also has the greatest concentration of coffee
production in South America and almost denuded of natural forests.

After extensive searches of the Central Cordillera for amphibians,
herpetologist and Fundacin ProAves President, Alonso Quevedo, with
ecologist Oscar Gallego discovered one of the largest surviving forest
fragments, a mere 200 acres of forest on its eastern flank. Not only
did Alonso discover that the 200 acres contained many threatened
amphibians, but that it held many previously undescribed species
including two spectacular poison frogs, recently named as the
Swainson’s Poison Frog (Ranitomeya doriswainsonae) and Little Golden
Poison Frog (Ranitomeya tolimense). Sadly this last 200 acres was in
the process of being cleared for avocado and coffee plantations that
would almost certainly seal the fate of countless amphibians and other
unique biodiversity. “In an urgent bid to save this unique island of
amphibian diversity” said Alonso Quevedo, “I negotiated with different
land owners of the 200 acre forest to stop clearing forest and sell
the land to the national conservation NGO, Fundacin ProAves. The
owners agreed, so I immediately approached Conservation International
and IUCN Netherlands for emergency support.” In early December, the
newly named “Ranita Dorada Amphibian Reserve”, named after the Little
Golden Poison Frog, was launched.

Posted via email from Deane’s posterous

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