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Empty-handed, but heart-filled!

Finding the Rarest Frog in the World

Well, now I am back from that fabulous trip to Costa Rica I am hoping that people realised it was never really about finding an elusive Golden Toad.  But instead, I think I found something much more valuable to me personally. As I lay in my bunk on the last night before heading out of Monteverde Cloud Forest, after us triumphantly finding a trio of rare Isthmohyla rivularis specimens, including the gravid female, I wasn’t sleeping quite as soundly as you might think. I had dreamt of finding a pair of these frogs for so long, and here I was with the perfect opportunity to initiate a captive breeding programme for the species. But when I woke, in my heart, I knew I would rather leave them in the wild where they belonged than ever see them in captivity. I love animals, and have a passion for amphibians that has been with me from as early as I can remember. I have long believed that captive breeding was a way to save these wonderful creatures from extinction, but this year, that night, something inside me changed. I now believe that the only place for wild animals is in the wild. So I came back empty handed. Just to know that those beautiful, very special frogs will probably be calling tonight, in Monteverde, and that the female may have spawned in that crystal clear stream, fills me with more happiness than you might ever realise.

emply-handed, but the smile says it all!

emply-handed, but my smile says it all!

READ ALL ABOUT FINDING ISTHMOHYLA RIVULARIS AND WATCH THE VIDEOS

BBC RELATED FOOTAGE HERE

The other thing to come out of the amazing trip for me has been the realisation that there are many more committed individuals in Costa Rica who are passionate about the conservation of these and other rare frogs than I had thought. All the people I had the pleasure of sharing this trip with were particularly exceptional in that respect, Mark, Alex, all the guards that joined us, and colleagues at both the Monteverde Rainforest League and the Tropical Science Centre. The early part of the trip, which was spent filming frogs at The Costa Rican Amphibian Research Centre with my friend Brian Kubicki, was also very special. Brian was carefully raising some Anotheca spinosa, a rare tree hole dwelling species, from tadpoles to small froglets, in-situ. This ensures that most survive rather than perish, and that the young get the head start they need for a life in the wild. Brian’s attitude, knowledge, experience, and real hard work never fails to impress me – he is a true inspiration. I cannot speak highly enough of this guy and the commitment and effort he continues to put into real amphibian conservation.     See also BBC link: Whats next for Costa Rican Frogs: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7612961.stm

Brian Kubicki

Brian Kubicki

CRARC & BRIAN KUBICKI PAGE HERE

BBC RELATED FOOTAGE HERE


World’s ‘rarest tree frog’ found!

Picture 289Andrew and the team have found what they were looking for – a female Isthmohyla rivularis alive and well in the Costa Rican cloud forest of Monteverde. They also found some more males of this species giving hope that they are surviving and breeding there. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7609780.stm

This species was thought extinct for 20 years until Andrew found a single male when he was there last year. (See previous post for this story)

FIND OUT ALL ABOUT ISTHMOHYLA RIVULARIS HERE

The hunt is on!

Andrew is currently in Costa Rica on fieldwork and leading a team from Chester Zoo and the University of Manchester. They are searching for Isthmohyla rivularis (right), a frog that Andrew rediscovered last year after it had been thought extinct about 20 years.

Whilst there, he and Mark Dickinson from the Photon Science Institute at the University of Manchester will be taking a spectrometer into the field to investigate how different frog species reflect Inra-red light. Something, that up until now they have only had the opportunity to do with captive frogs in the laboratory (http://www.psi.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/archive/2007/191107.html)

The team will also visit the last known breeding site of Lithobates vibicarius. The very remote area is where Andrew visited last year and returned with a few specimens to initiate a captive breeding program with Chester Zoo for the species. Tthey are returning to see how the population is fairing and help support a conservation program that Andrew proposed for protecting the species in the wild.

Following the group on this expedition are the BBC. Check out the following links to follow the groups adventures:

Experts poised for rare frog hunt: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7591050.stm

Frog Hunt: In search for the world’s rarest frogs: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7597865.stm

From poisonous hoppers to screaming frogs: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7597701.stm

Check back soon for more updates to the expedition!!

Rare frog rediscovered!

At the moment we are also rearing some recently metamorphosed froglets of another Costa Rican frog Isthmohyla lancastri. These small tree frogs live around and breed in fast flowing streams in the rainforest. Their call is really cool, like a little chirping bird. The specimens we have call in the back area all day long……

In the future we are hoping we can put these beautiful little frogs on display  and further highlight the important amphibian conservation work being carried out and in September, Andrew will be travelling back to Costa Rica to try and find their rarest relative Isthmohyla rivularis, which he rediscovered at Monteverde last year:

 http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/extinct-frog935.html

Welcome to Frog Blog

Thank you for joining us for our first Frog Blog!

On Wednesday 23rd July both of us met with Richard Gibson and Douglas Sherriff from Chester Zoo regarding the development of a conservation project involving Green-eyed frogs Lithobates vibicaria. Last year, Andrew  acquired some specimens of this Costa Rican species from what is thought to be the last known breeding site in the world for the species. The pond is at Monteverde, and Andrew was given special permission from the authorities to collect a few tadpole specimens to start an Ex-situ breeding programme as one of the ways of helping conserve this critically endangered species. Andrew has proposed a conservation project that mainly involves supporting the wild frogs in Costa Rica. All the specimens Andrew collected are now going to Chester Zoo, who have welcomed the opportunity to  support the conservation of this criticaly endangered species.