A glimmer of hope, but much cause for concern. Those are the reactions from teams of scientists from around the world that have returned from an unprecedented search for 100 species of ‘lost’ amphibians – frogs, salamanders, and caecilians that have not been seen in a decade or longer, and may now be extinct.
The Search for Lost Frogs, launched in August by Conservation International (CI) and theIUCN Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG), with support from Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC), sought to document the survival status and whereabouts of threatened species of amphibians which they had hoped were holding on in a few remote places.
However, five months of multiple, targeted expeditions have led to disappointing findings that conservationists say should sound an urgent wake-up call for countries, and prompt coordinated efforts to prevent further declines in the populations of these environmentally sensitive barometer-species. Only four of 100 missing amphibians that scientists set out to find were located. Eleven more rediscoveries were unexpected surprises.
The search – a first of its kind – took place between August and December 2010 in 21 countries, on five continents, and involved 126 researchers.