As president of Las Gralarias Foundation Inc. (a Leap into Action partner) I wanted to share some really exciting news from my last visit to Ecuador. My wife Kathy (LGF secretary), and Las Gralarais Foundation Inc. volunteeer Hannah went down to Reserva Las Gralarias (RLG) to continue our amphibian monitoring program we established a couple of years ago. Every trip we seem to find additional species to record for the reserve and we are now up to at least three new species discovered!This last trip was particularly exciting because National Geographic visited us at RLG to work on a story about the global amphibian crisis. We took them out into the field to document the work we are doing with amphibians on RLG. One of our goals of this visit was to find and collect a rare glass frog species (Centrolene buckleyii) to take to the amphibian rescue facility Balsa de los Sapos (which translates to "Life Raft of the Frogs"). The herpetologists at Balsa de los Sapos have told us that RLG may hold the most important populations of these frogs left in existence. We had hoped to bring them a pair of these frogs for a captive breeding program at the facility. Unfortunately it had been a particularly wet rainy season and the frogs had gone up into the canopy of the forest out of our reach. We did hear them sing though. The population still seems stable, just too high up!
After four days in the field, we took the National Geographic folks as well as two employees from Conservation international to visit Balsa de los Sapos and the herpetologists Luis Coloma and Ron Santiago. They had the opportunity to interview the staff and see the rescue facility and museum. Coloma showed them a poster of the Atelopus of Ecuador which was just created two years ago. As he pointed to the species pictures he gave us their status: "Extinct, Extinct, Extinct, may be alive, Extinct, Extinct, ..." It was heart-wrenching. Of the 20 species displayed, all but three or four species are still thought to be in existence. There are so many reasons for these extinctions (habitat destruction, climate change, chytrid fungus, pollution) but they are all human caused.
We all talked to the National Geographic about the scary statistics, but emphasized that there are ways to help. There are ways everyone can help save amphibians and the environment in general. Please check out the Top 8 Things You Can Do and if you want to go the extra mile to help amphibians, Las Gralarias Foundation has an Adopt an Acre of Cloud Forest program from which 100% of the donations will go to land protection. We have already protected 1062 acres from contributions from conservation minded people throughout the world. You can help us too!
Also, if you would like to support Balsa de los Sapos please make a contribution to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo RAIN station in the RainForest or visit the following site for more information!
National Geographic in Ecuador
Luis Coloma points to the poster of Atelopus in Ecuador