Sunday, November 15, 2015

Captive Assurance Colonies

A few people recently have asked about the kind of research we do in the Amphibian Conservation Program @ ABG, so I thought I would answer in pictures. There are five major components of our program, but our first priority, and the reason the program started in the first place was to build and maintain #CaptiveAssuranceColonies of rare and endangered amphibians from the #neotropics and SE US. Initiative 1: Historically, we have worked with imperiled amphibian species from Costa Rica, Ecuador, Suriname, Chile and Panama and have been the first to breed many species of #GlassFrog ( #Centrolenidae ), Eyelash Marsupial Frog (#Gastrotheca), Pratt's Rocket Frog #Colostethus , Gaige's Rain Frog #Pristimantis , and one of the first to breed #Cruziohyla in captivity. One of our largest conservation efforts was our collaborative expedition to Panama in 2005 to rescue frogs from the emergent infectious disease - #chytrid (chytridiomycosis). This fungus attacks amphibians world wide and back then was wiping out approximately 85% of the frogs from central Panama. The Garden, Zoo Atlanta, and El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center #EVACC raced to collect frogs from the wild before the fungus hit El Valle de Anton, Panama in 2005. The frogs were brought back to Atlanta and are housed in the biosecure facility pictured above called the #frogPOD That was 10 years ago, and seeing as the frogs were collected as adults, many of them are quite old. We still have many original founder frogs as well as their offspring, grand babies and great grand babies. They stay in isolation from other amphibian collections we have at the Garden so they can still be candidates for re introduction into central Panama should it become safe for them once again. Unfortunately, chytridiomycosis is still prevalent in the region and prematurely releasing them would mean near certain death at this time. Some of the other Panamanian species living in the frogPOD are Anotheca spinosa, the Crowned Tree Frog; Agalychnis lemur, the Lemur Leaf Frog and Cochranella euknemos, the Slope Snouted Glass Frog.