Endangered frogs bred in captivity

Nov. 18, 2010 at 4:10 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Researchers say they've successfully bred an endangered Panamanian tree frog, notoriously difficult to care for in captivity, in an effort to save the species.

Scientists with the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project say they've successfully bred the critically endangered La Loma tree frog, Hyloscirtus colymba, ScienceDaily.con reported.

"We are some of the first researchers to attempt to breed these animals into captivity and we have very little information about how to care for them," said Brian Gratwicke, coordinator for the project and a research biologist at the Smithsonian's National Zoo.

"We were warned that we might not be able to keep these frogs alive, but through a little bit of guesswork, attention to detail and collaboration with other husbandry experts -- we've managed to breed them," he said.

"The lessons we're learning have put us on target to save this incredible species and our other priority species in Panama."

The rescue project currently has 28 adult La Loma tree frogs and four tadpoles at the Summit Municipal Park outside of Panama City.

Nearly one-third of the world's amphibian species are at risk of extinction from habitat loss, climate change, pollution and disease, with 120 frog species thought to have gone extinct since 1980.

"Although the outlook for amphibians is grim, the rescue project's recent developments give us hope for these unique Panamanian species," said Roberto Ibanez, local director of the project and a scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

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