Reversing the loss of the most threatened group of vertebrates
Earth is home to more than 8,000 species of amphibians – frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and worm-like caecilians. These fascinating animals exhibit a remarkable diversity of colours, forms and appearances and have inspired human cultures around the world for millennia. More recently, their skin secretions have been identified as offering potential hope in the battle against diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and many more. Unfortunately, amphibians are by far the most threatened group of vertebrates. Around 40% are at risk of extinction, a far greater proportion than mammals (25 %) or birds (14 %).
Amphibians are threatened primarily by habitat loss and disease. Those most at risk are found in the tropics where there is often a great need for the development of more expertise in practical amphibian conservation and research. The response of conservation organisations and donors to the amphibian crisis has been nowhere close to what is needed. To address this insufficient response, Synchronicity Earth has developed its Amphibian Programme with three key goals:
Build capacity and support development of amphibian conservation organisations.
* Images (L to R): Robin Moore; Molly Bletz; Robin Moore
Partner Profile: Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA)
The Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA) officially launched in 2011, and has since built a committed global alliance of Partners, dedicated to developing a better world for amphibians through coordinated conservation action. ASA promotes and coordinates the implementation of conservation actions for amphibians through an active, growing, engaged, committed, and collaborative partnership around the world. The great need for this endeavour is reflected in the rate of loss of amphibian populations globally, and we face a challenging future as we strive to reverse these trajectories.
“We envisage a future where amphibian conservation is fully collaborative and integrated into global conservation priorities — a future where amphibians are valued for their many contributions to this world, as well as their astonishing beauty and variety.”
Helen Meredith, Executive Director of the ASA, remains optimistic that a better future for amphibians is possible:
Image © Molly Bletz
“Finding effective remedies to the global amphibian extinction crisis demands cooperative, focused, and continuous attention from a wide variety of organisations and individuals.”
Amphibian Survival Alliance
Spotlight on Species: Fringed-limbed Treefrog
Image © Brian Gratwicke
There are 10 species of Fringe-limbed Treefrog (genus Ecnomiohyla) in Central and South America, six of which are either Critically Endangered or Endangered. The late Dr George Rabb, in whose honour our Amphibian Fund was created, had a treefrog named after him and his wife: Rabbs’ Fringe-limbed Treefrog (Ecnomiohyla rabborum).
Sadly, this treefrog is now most likely extinct. The last known individual, known as ‘Toughie’, died in September 2016. However,
one species, Ecnomiohyla phantasmagoria, a large treefrog with distinctive webbed feet, has recently been rediscoveredin Ecuador in Tesoro Escondido where our partner, Jocotoco, works. This is the first record of this close relative to Rabbs’ Fringe-limbed Treefrog, for many years.