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Tag Archives: Frog Conservation

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Pet Trade Frogs Fund Conservation – Wikiri’s Unique Strategy

Marsupial FrogHello, Frank Indiviglio here. Decades of work in zoos and the pet trade has, I believe, given me a unique perspective on the contributions that each can make to amphibian conservation.  Over the years, I have been greatly influenced by the work of private keepers who, in some cases, bred rare species long before zoos. Indeed, numerous husbandry techniques used in zoos originated in the private sector. In general, however, the pet trade focuses on pets and conservationists focus on conservation. But Wikiri, an enterprise formed to support amphibian conservation and research, combines the best of both worlds by using captive-bred frogs to promote its goals. In doing so, Wikiri has broken new ground in addressing the amphibian extinction crisis.

Amphibian Declines

The threat currently facing amphibians are unprecedented. At least 200 species have become extinct in recent years, prompting some to compare this “Sixth Extinction Crisis” to the disappearance of the dinosaurs.  Read More »

Frog Leg Trade Kills Billions of Frogs Annually and Threatens Species’ Survival

Indian BullfrogHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Unprecedented declines in amphibian populations have been much in the news lately.  Linked to a number of factors, including an emerging disease (Chytrid fungus infection), frog extinctions are being documented the world over, and herpetologists are scrambling to save those that remain.  Yet the international trade in frog legs remains largely unregulated, and is considered by many to serve only a limited market for “exotic foods”. However, a recent report, Canapés to Extinction: the International Trade in Frog’s Legs (July 26, 2011) reveals the trade’s shocking volume and impact on frogs and their habitats.

Trade Kills 1,000,000,000+ Frogs in US Alone

The extent of the frog leg trade in the USAis surprisingly large.  The USAannually imports 4.6 million pounds of frog legs, representing an estimated 1.1 billion frogs, and 4.4 million pounds of live frogs!   These figures, and those mentioned below, are bare minimums, as they do not include locally farmed and collected frogs and those that are not reported to regulatory authorities.  Read More »

Reptile Hobbyists – Helping or Hindering Reptile and Amphibian Conservation?

 Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima manniHello, Frank Indiviglio here.While over-collection and poorly-prepared pet keepers have certainly led to declines in wild populations of some species, private hobbyists have also contributed immensely to the conservation of amphibians, invertebrates and reptiles (as well as fishes, birds and mammals).  This is especially true of those animals which zoos lack the interest or space to maintain…often the very creatures most favored by private keepers.

The Asian Turtle Crisis

A lack of funds and space in zoos led the establishment of the Turtle Survival Alliance, the largest turtle rescue effort ever launched.  The Alliance was organized in response to unprecedented declines in freshwater turtle populations throughout Asia – a phenomenon that has come to be known as the Asian Turtle Crisis. 

Soon after the group was formed, I traveled to Floridain the company of private and professional turtle enthusiasts to help rehabilitate and house nearly 10,000 turtles confiscated in China; many of the private sector people I met there now participate in rehabilitation and breeding initiatives in cooperation with zoos and museums. Read More »

Amphibian News – Rare Frogs Breed in Captivity, Lost Species Found

Haitian LandscapeHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Frogs and frog enthusiasts have much to celebrate these days.  The endangered Lake Titicaca Frog, Telmatobius culeus, has reproduced in captivity, and 6 Haitian frogs, lost to science for decades, have been found.

Lake Titicaca’s Aquatic Giant

The huge, skin-breathing, cold-adapted Lake Titicaca Frog ranks as one of the world’s strangest amphibians.  Known only from this lake, which straddles the Peru-Bolivia border at 12,500 feet above sea level, the unique creature is threatened by the food trade and pollution.

I had the good fortune to work with what was, at the time, the only Lake Titicaca Frogs in captivity.  Despite nearly 2 decades of trials, I and my co-workers failed to raise the few tadpoles that were produced (please see article below).  However, Peru’s Huachipa Zoo, in association with the Denver Zoo, has announced that 5 apparently healthy tadpoles are now being reared.  A museum in Bolivia has been successful in breeding a close relative, the equally-rare Water Frog, Telmatobius hintoni. Read More »

2010’s Amphibian Discoveries – New Species and New Information – Part 1

 Heterixalus alboguttatusHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  In the wake of continuing amphibian extinctions, herpetologists made a special effort to study frogs and salamanders in 2010.  Their hard work resulted in the discovery of new species and others believed extinct, and in many surprising new findings about how they live.

Please note: the species described below are barely studied; the photos shown here are of close relatives.  Please see article below for actual photos.

“Back From Extinction”

Biologists participating in a program launched by Conservation International and the IUCN combed the globe in hopes of finding amphibians that have already been “written off” as gone forever.  Herp enthusiasts were pleased to learn that at least 3 of these, while very rare, do indeed continue to hold on. Read More »

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