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Save the amphibians! They are dying off in a mass extinction worldwide.

More info on the plight of amphibians and the AMAZING work being done to save them by @frogsneedourhelp @joelsartore Thank you again, ...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Knowing this day would come didn’t make it any easier. The last known Rabbs’ Fringe-limbed Tree Frog has passed away in the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s frogPOD, where he has lived since 2008. He was collected as part of the Panamanian frog rescue mission in 2005, set forth by ABG and Zoo Atlanta to save frogs being decimated by chytrid fungus. I had the honor of working with him for almost 7 years, and in that time his sad story of being the very last of his kind had, in a powerfully sad way, made him an ‘ambassador' for amphibian conservation and awareness. Almost 40% of the world’s amphibian populations are documented as in decline, or already extinct. That means that this frog - who my son nicknamed ‘Toughie’ when he was 2 years old - is unfortunately not entirely unique in his situation. There are other species out there, blinking out before we even have a chance to recognize what was happening, let alone reverse it. Amphibians are disappearing and their declines are telling us something we need to pay attention to. It’s going to take all of us to make a difference for the amphibians, and ultimately, for us too. Some facts about Toughie: He was collected as an adult in 2005, so he was at least 12 years old at the time he passed away. His actual age is unknown. His genetic material was collected after death. His genus, Ecnomiohyla, is a group of neotropical gliding frogs. Expanded toe webbing and lateral skin enables them to glide from one tree to the next. His specific name, rabborum, refers to the fact that he was named by Joe Mendelson after dedicated amphibian conservationists — George and Mary Rabb. He was featured in National Geographic by Joel Sartore, The Huffington Post by Leilani Münter, #RacingExtinction and #ProjectingChange by Louis Psihoyos and OPS. For the Projecting Change movement, Joel Sartore's image of him was projected on the Vatican while his vocalization played for over a million people. His call was recorded for the first time in 2014 and can be heard here: https://youtu.be/Mz2Ir2_O-cQ

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Adorable young Lemur Leaf Frog

Lemur Leaf Frogs, Agalychnis lemur, like this young froglet pictured here, are completely adorable. We have worked with both Panamanian and Costa Rican lineages of these incredible animals. Lemur Leaf Frogs, like most phyllomedusines lay their eggs on leaves over water. Once the eggs hatch, the tadpoles plop right into the water below. It has been long known that these developing embryos have the ability to hatch early if they detect that they are in danger (from predatory wasps for example) but recent research on Red-Eyed Leaf Frogs (a relative of A. lemur) has been investigating the mechanism by which these developing animals are able to make life decisions at such an early age. Truly fascinating work by Karen Warkentin at Boston University.

Lemur Leaf Frogs are also #CriticallyEndangered, meaning that their already dangerously low numbers are still declining in the wild. Organizations like #CRARC and #TheVivarium at the #ManchesterMuseum are working hard to save this species from extinction. 

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Atlanta Amphibian Conservation Update

In the next week, we are moving to a new level in amphibian conservation. It’s an exciting time for change and growth. We have the most incredible, passionate and talented partners and are looking forward to getting out there and conserving frogs and salamanders. Change also inspires me to reflect on the past bunch of years and some of the awesome species we have worked with -  the opportunities and as well as accomplishments. This is a repost, but it is one of my favorite pictures from ABG. This is a Granular Glass Frog, Cochranella granulosa. This picture was taken with my phone, through the glass of one of the frogs on exhibit. It was directly after the exhibit misting and the frog just looked so perfect. I was lucky that it stayed still and allowed me to get this shot. Glass frogs are transparent on their ventral surface, but their dorsal coloration can be quite beautiful. C. granulosa often has shades of blue mixed with green on their dorsum

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