Tuesday, September 21, 2010

'Lost' frogs found after decades

Omaniundu reed frogA mission aimed at rediscovering amphibian species thought to be extinct has yielded its first results.

Conservationists have turned up live specimens of two West African frogs and a cave-dwelling salamander from Mexico.

The salamander was last seen in 1941, and was rediscovered by abseiling into caves deep in the forest.

The expeditions are partially designed to bring attention to the plight of amphibians around the world, with a third of species at risk of extinction.

"It's pretty extraordinary to think about just how long it has been since these animals were last seen," observed project co-ordinator Robin Moore of Conservation International (CI).

"The last time that the Mexican salamander was seen, Glenn Miller was one of the world's biggest stars.

"The Omaniundu reed frog disappeared the year that Sony sold its first ever Walkman."

The expeditions, formally launched last month, collectively aim to find out whether 100 species thought extinct are in fact still alive.

The West African species - the Omaniundu reed frog (Hyperolius sankuruensis) from Democratic Republic of Congo, last seen in 1979, and the Mount Nimba reed frog (Hyperolius nimbae) from Ivory Coast, unknown since 1967 - are particularly intriguing, as both countries are subject to fairly intensive habitat loss.

As the human footprint expands, many amphibians are being pushed back into marginal areas, such as the Mexican cave system where the cave splayfoot salamander (Chiropterotriton mosaueri) turned up.

via BBC News - 'Lost' frogs found after decades.


Cheng said...

This mission seems to be slightly self defeating. Finding living specimens of previously (thought to be) extinct organisms, is not going to heighten awareness of their plight in the eyes of Joe Public.

Alex said...

I second the thoughts of Mr.Cheng. However, this kind of discoveries point that nature has its own way of protecting its children no matter what we human race do to them!