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Rare But Unprotected – Red Tape Pushes 12 US Amphibians Towards Extinction

Texas Blind SalamanderAt least 200 species of amphibians have become extinct in the last 30 years, and a full one-third of those remaining may soon follow. Despite rising concerns here in the USA, and the existence of a long-established law (the Endangered Species Act) that protects animals in peril, 12 native frogs, toads and salamanders remain neglected and in immediate need of protection.

A Crisis Situation for Many Species

According to the standards set by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, all 12 species qualify for protection under the Endangered Species Act.  However, a recent update released by the Center for Biological Diversity revealed the shocking fact that, for reasons that are not entirely clear (or, I’m sure, reasonable!), these rare amphibians remain on the Endangered Species Act “Candidates List” – unprotected and edging ever closer to extinction.

The seriousness of this situation is made very clear by the fact that 42 other species have gone extinct during the time that the 12 amphibians have languished on the “Candidates List”!  In total, an astonishing 252 animals and plants have been included on this list but are yet to be granted protection under the Endangered Species Act…certainly there are others waiting to be documented.

Amphibians Ready and Waiting for Protection

Oregon Spotted FrogThe amphibians currently known to be in need of protection are as follows:

Frogs and Toads

Arizona Treefrog, Colorado Spotted Frog, Oregon Spotted Frog, Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog, Yosemite Toad, Relict Leopard Frog


Black Warrior Mudpuppy, Austin Blind Salamander, Jollyville Plateau Salamander, Salado Salamander, Ozark Hellbender, Georgetown Salamander

Further Reading

You can learn how to register your opinion on this and other conservation emergencies on the Center for Biological Diversity Website.

Annually, over 300,000 people swim in Barton Spring, the only known habitat of the Austin Blind Salamander; more on this unique conservation challenge here.




  1. avatar

    Dear Frank,

    Thanks so much for keeping us updated . This was a great article.

About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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