Guarding the Guardian Marsupial Frog

The name Gastrotheca orophylax is derived from the Greek oros that means mountain and phylax meaning guard or watchman. It was named by Willian E. Duellman and Rebecca Pyles in 1980 (the authors who described the species), suggesting these frogs may have witnessed Spanish Conquistadores passing through their habitat in 1539, on their way to the Amazon. This unique frog is found in the Amazonian slopes of the Andes in northern Ecuador and southern Colombia, living at elevations between 2484–3308 meters. It thrives in nocturnal and arboreal habitats such as cloud forests, montane forests, high-montane forests, and subparamo.

¿Por qué esta amenazada? / Why is it threatened?

The guardian marsupial frog faces endangerment due to its limited range, fragmented habitat, and ongoing habitat loss. Once common, it is now rare in Ecuador, with severe declines attributed to deforestation for agriculture and cattle ranching. There few locality records in Ecuador are facing severe human-induced habitat deterioration. Other potential factors include climate change and diseases, since the species appears to have disappeared in pristine habitats. The use of agro-chemicals for potato and tree tomatoe plantations could be a factor of disturbance for the species.

¿A dónde queremos llegar? / Our goal

Our aim is to establish a secure population at Centro Jambatu through our ex situ conservation program, initiated in 2011. Once a healthy population is established, we plan to conduct reintroduction studies to return the frogs to areas where they've disappeared due to various threats.

Pasos para alcanzar la meta / Steps towards success

  • Breeding and raising parent frogs at Centro Jambatu (currently underway)
  • Developing a robust laboratory population
  • Conducting reintroduction trials to refine successful release methods
  • Monitoring released populations
  • Extending efforts to replicate successes in other locations
  • Preventing the species from extinction!

Auspiciantes / Supporting Organizations

  • Wikiri Sapoparque
  • Saint Louis Zoo
amenaza 2

Your contribution is a concrete action for its conservation

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