On a group of remote islands of the Philippines, amid growing tourism, white-sand beaches, and dramatic limestone caves, a small brown frog has been quietly slipping away. The Gigantes forest frog, once thought to live on four of the ten Islas de Gigantes, is now only found on the two largest, and what little research there is suggests populations are declining rapidly there as well.
The Gigantes forest frog has barely been studied: its reproductive behaviour, population dynamics, even its original range and the full extent to which the species has declined, is unknown. What is known is that the species is Critically Endangered, and that it seems to have unique habitat requirements. The frogs spend most of their lives sheltering in the islands’ karst limestone cave system, venturing into the forests nearby to feed, and hiding in tiny cracks and crevices in the rock for protection.