May 25

The Whitley Fund for Nature holds an annual ceremony where pioneering conservationists around the world are honoured with an award recognising their achievement and given £35,000 (US$50,350) to continue their projects. We were lucky enough to be invited along to the ceremony to meet the finalists and find out more about their work. Each day this week we will release an interview from each of the winners on the Arkive blog and our Youtube channel. ENJOY!

Gilbert Baase Adum – Saving Ghana’s frogs: a giant leap forward for biodiversity conservation

Gilbert is the co-founder of Save the Frogs Ghana whose aim is to protect Ghana’s amphibian populations and promote a society that respects and appreciates wildlife. Over 80% of Ghana’s original rainforests have been cleared and a third of the country’s amphibians are under threat, yet Ghana has only two professional amphibian biologists (SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Executive Director Gilbert Adum and Caleb Ofori), and the amphibian population is relatively unstudied. Gilbert and his team were responsible for rediscovering the giant squeaker frog which you can hear Gilbert do a fantastic impression of in this video!

Find out more about Gilbert’s work on the Whitley Awards website

Discover more about Save the Frogs! Ghana

Feb 6

ICYMI: Arkive has compiled some of the biggest and most interesting headlines from this week.

The following article was originally published on Friday, Jan 30, 2015.

Successful strawberry frog dads die young

Strawberry poison frog, side profile

Researchers have found that male strawberry poison frogs who raise more offspring have a reduced longevity. They believe that the direct involvement in raising clutches contributes to a shorter lifespan.

View original article

 The following article was originally published on Saturday, Jan 31, 2015.

Whales hear through their bones, San Diego study finds

Southern right whale

The skulls of at least some baleen whales have acoustic properties that capture the energy of low frequencies and direct it to their ear bones. These findings might help legislators decide on limits to oceanic man-made noise.

View original article

 The following article was originally published on Sunday, Feb 1, 2015.

Planting drone to fight deforestation

Collecting seeds of a native tree species for reforestation

The first step is for the a drone to gather mapping data for areas chosen for reforestation. The second step is for the “planting” drone to propel biodegradable seedpods to the ground, which contains germinated seeds and necessary nutrients

View original article

The following article was originally published on  Monday, Feb 2, 2015.

Sometimes, protecting one species harms another

Humphead parrotfish

The humphead parrotfish is considered a vulnerable species that must be protected. However, they thrive in abundance at Palmyra Atoll where they consume dangerously large amounts of coral. It poses the question of how to protect both species.

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The following article was originally published on Tuesday, Feb 3, 2015.

Bringing rhinos back to Uganda, one calf at a time

Southern white rhinoceros

Rhinos were completely wiped out in Uganda by 1982. In 2005, however, six southern white rhinos were introduced to the Zhiwa Rhino Sanctuary. There are now fifteen rhinos.

View original article

The following article was originally published on Wednesday, Feb 4, 2015.

Tiger populations in Nepal can’t grow without more food and space

Bengal tiger portrait

Nepal has set a goal of having at least 250 Bengal tigers within its borders by 2022. Anti-poaching efforts, however, may not be enough since a recent study suggests that the tigers in Nepal lack the food and space to allow further population growth.

View original article

The following article was originally published on Thursday, Feb 5, 2015.

Rare pink pigeons baffled by ‘signal-jamming’ doves

Pink pigeon side profile

A new study found that pink pigeons mistake the calls of Madagascan turtle doves for rival male pink pigeons. Their mistake causes them to waste energy and may be one the reasons pink pigeons have failed to recolonize more of Mauritius.

Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA



May 31

Lemur leaf frog (Hylomantis lemur)

Species: Lemur leaf frog (Hylomantis lemur)

Status: Critically Endangered (CR)

Interesting Fact: The lemur leaf frog has the remarkable ability to change colour depending on whether it is active or resting.

More information: The lemur leaf frog is a tiny, highly threatened amphibian from Central America. This species is primarily nocturnal, and spends the day well hidden on leaves. During the day, this frog is a vibrant leaf-green colour, changing to red-brown when it is active. At night, the lemur leaf frog walks stealthily among low vegetation in search of its invertebrate prey. This species breeds during the rainy season, and the female lays between 15 and 30 eggs on leaves that hang over water. After the eggs have hatched, the larvae are washed into the watercourse during heavy rain. This Critically Endangered amphibian is currently found in Costa Rica and Panama, and marginally in Colombia. In Costa Rica this frog is only known from three sites.

The lemur leaf frog has undergone a drastic population decline, estimated to be more than 80 percent loss over a 10 year period. While pigments in the skin of the lemur leaf frog are thought to grant it some resistance, the decline of this species is thought to be due to chytridiomycosis, a disease that is responsible for global amphibian population crashes.  This frog is also threatened by deforestation, especially in Costa Rica.

In Panama, this species is known to exist within at least six protected areas, whereas the habitats of the Costa Rican populations remain unprotected. A captive breeding programme began in 2001 at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which has been highly successful and has since transferred individuals to other zoos to continue the effort. Other breeding programmes exist at the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center in Panama, and the Manchester Museum in the United Kingdom.

Find out more about the lemur leaf frog and other species of South America

See images of the lemur leaf frog on ARKive

Find out more about amphibian conservation

Ben Hogan, Wildscreen ARKive PIPS Intern

Apr 4

Angel’s Madagascar frog (Boehmantis microtympanum)

Species: Angel’s Madagascar frog (Boehmantis microtympanum)

Status: Endangered (EN)

Interesting Fact: Angel’s Madagascar frog is not known to produce any vocalisations and its external ear drum is much smaller than in most frog species.

More information: Angel’s Madagascar frog is a large-bodied frog species that has a marbled green-brown or grey pattern on the upper surface of its body, perfectly camouflaging it against the abundant moss-covered rocks in its habitat.

The impressive yet infrequent energetic movements of this species are only used when an individual is disturbed, and Angel’s Madagascar frog is relatively sedentary for the majority of the time. The main prey items of this species include insects, small freshwater crustaceans and smaller frogs, which it hunts for at dusk and generally devours whole. This long-living amphibian can live for up to seven years.

Local extinctions of Angel’s Madagascar frog have already occurred due to the extensive destruction of forest habitats throughout its range, especially in southeast Madagascar. As well as habitat loss and degradation, the introduction of an invasive eucalyptus species has also led to population declines in this species.

The range of Angel’s Madagascar frog includes two protected areas, the Andohela and Midongy-du-Sud National Parks, although further protection of this species’ habitat would be highly beneficial for its conservation. Promoting sustainable forestry practices within the local community would also help to mitigate the extensive habitat destruction that continues to remove huge expanses of naturally occurring forest across Madagascar.

Find out more about amphibians on the IUCN Red List

Find out more about conservation in Madagascar

See images of Angel’s Madagascar frog on ARKive

Hannah Mulvany, ARKive Content and Outreach Officer

Dec 17

The Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA), Rainforest Trust, Global Wildlife Conservation and the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation have committed one million dollars to protect vital frog habitats around the world in the coming year.

Current figures from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimate that around 30.2% of amphibian species are currently under threat of extinction, with 12.5% of birds and 20.6% of mammals also at risk. These statistics show that amphibians are by far the most threatened group of species and its members are in dire need of conservation efforts to secure their future survival. Amphibians are at the forefront of what is being described as the ‘sixth mass extinction event on earth’, with 120 species disappearing in recent years and around 7,000 amphibian species in decline.

Southern gastric-brooding frog image

The southern gastric-brooding frog is thought to have gone extinct in 1981

Sensitive souls

The class Amphibia contains frogs, salamanders, caecilians and toads, among many others. As a group, amphibians are extremely sensitive to environmental change and are often the first species to become locally extinct in a disturbed habitat.

It is thought that habitat loss is the primary threat to amphibian populations around the world, and the Leapfrog Conservation Fund will be used for management and protection of key habitats. Don Church, Executive Director of the ASA, said, “Habitat loss is the single biggest threat to the survival of amphibians worldwide. This million-dollar commitment represents a landmark in the battle to stem the alarming loss of frogs, salamanders and caecilians. We hope that it will encourage others to step forward and make a commitment to protecting amphibians and habitats.”

Although habitat loss is thought to be the primary cause of global declines, many other factors are also decreasing amphibian population numbers, including climate change, invasive species, over-collection and diseases such as chytridiomycosis.

Lemur leaf frog image

The Critically Endangered lemur leaf frog exists in just a few pockets of its former range due to the negative effects of habitat loss and chytridiomycosis

Action plan

The million-dollar Leapfrog Conservation Fund will be dispersed through the ASA and will be used to manage key amphibian habitats around the world. It is thought that there are around 940 amphibian species living in unprotected areas around the world, and many of these species have a very restricted range, which may be as small as a single stream or pond. The most threatened habitats will be prioritised and targeted for protection. As well as having a positive effect on the amphibians within the habitat, the fund will undoubtedly help to boost populations of other species.

Western Ghats waterfall image

Areas such as the Western Ghats rely on their amphibian biodiversity to sustain the ecosystem

Success story

Previous alliances between the ASA and other conservation organisations have been very successful. The forest of Sierra Caral in Guatemala was at risk of being destroyed for agriculture, before a team of amphibian specialists surveyed the area, finding 12 amphibian species, 5 of which were endemic to the area. Funds are now being raised to further protect the area and the species which inhabit it.

Partnerships are the key to success,” said Robin Moore, Conservation Officer with the ASA, Rainforest Trust and Global Wildlife Conservation. “We all have a stake in the future of our environment, and what is truly exciting about the Leapfrog Conservation Fund is that it represents an opportunity for unique collaborations to achieve a common goal – saving amphibians and habitats upon which we all depend.”

Hidden salamander image

The hidden salamander is one of Sierra Caral’s Critically Endangered amphibians

The future is bright

Dr Paul Salaman, Chief Executive Officer of the Rainforest Trust, said, “Amphibians represent an opportunity to stem biodiversity loss through relatively modest investments. We can literally save entire species through strategic habitat protection. We are thrilled to be able to make this commitment to protecting the most threatened vertebrate group in priority sites worldwide.”

For some amphibian species, such as the golden frog, it may be too late, but the Leapfrog Conservation Fund is definitely a step in the right direction to protect other species from a similar fate.

Golden frog image

The extinct golden frog has not been seen in the wild since 1989

For more information on the Leapfrog Conservation Fund or to apply for funding for a project, visit the Amphibian Survival Alliance homepage or contact Robin Moore at

See the top 50 amphibians on ARKive, and many more amphibian photos and videos.

Hannah Mulvany, ARKive Content Officer.


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