Frog conservation in Madagascar

This video is called Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) Calling.

From Wildlife Extra:

Silicone implants could play a part in saving one of the world’s smallest and most spectacular frogs

January 2014: Conservationists are trialling a technique to tag a population of 80 golden mantella frogs with a tiny amount of fluorescent silicone gel under the skin on their legs. The hope is that the implants will ultimately enable the identification and tracking of wild populations in their native Madagascar – a move which could help to protect the species.

Dr Gerardo Garcia, Chester Zoo’s curator of lower vertebrates and invertebrates said: “The technique of injecting a small coloured implant under the skin has never been attempted on these tiny golden mantella frogs before. However, if it works successfully on our captive animals in the UK, then we’ll be replicating this in the wild in Madagascar.

“In the short-term we hope these tags will allow us to identify each of the groups of frogs – something that’s currently very, very difficult given that they are all about the size of a thumb nail and look the same. At Chester, we need to be able to tell them apart for our own conservation-breeding purposes.”

The 20mm-long frogs are classed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), meaning they face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

A programme devised to protect golden mantellas and all other amphibians in Madagascar was set up in 2006. The strategy aims to equip local conservationists with the skills needed to establish safety-net populations of amphibians in captivity, out of the reach of a killer fungus that has devastated amphibian populations worldwide.

Madagascar is one of the only places in the world where the deadly chytrid fungus – a disease which thickens the frogs’ skin and prevents the movement of fluids, causing a chance of heart failure – does not currently exist. However experts believe it is only a matter of time before the fungus arrives there.

Dr Garcia said: “Amphibians already face lots of threats, most notably from the destruction of their habitat. However the chytrid fungus could be the last nail in the coffin. It threatens most of the wild amphibian species around the globe with extinction and it’s probably the first time ever that a disease has threatened to wipe out an entire class of animals.

“That’s why it’s vitally important to buy more time and give the species a lifeline until the threat of chytrid can be resolved.

“Once we’ve assessed how effective the tagging method is on the zoo’s ambassador group, if it proves to be the success that we think it will be, we’ll deploy this method in Madagascar with wild populations.

“We have already collaborated with organisations in Madagascar to help to set-up captive-breeding centres which are now successfully promoting the species. If we can tag groups of frogs in this way before we release them, then we’ll be able to track where they go and what their survival rate is.

“This process could play a very important part in their long-term survival.”

Frogs radio-tracked for first time in Madagascar: here.

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7 thoughts on “Frog conservation in Madagascar

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