Repopulating the Quebrada de Napinaza with its amazing harlequin frogs

Atelopus aff. spumarius is an undescribed species of harlequin frog. In Shuar, it is known as Wampucrum, which means "extremely poisonous colorful frog." This species lives in tropical rainforests and is distributed in the Amazon foothills, from the province of Pastaza (Ecuador) to the Department of Amazonas (Peru). In Ecuador, there are 9 known populations, but the conservation status is unknown for most of them.

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

One of these towns was located on the Napinaza River (Quebrada de Limón), Limón Indaza Canton, province of Morona Santiago. In 2004-2005, population monitoring reported a relatively stable number of individuals, although males were more abundant than females. During that research, adults and larvae showed symptoms related to the chytrid fungus (a fungus lethal to amphibians). In 2006, an investigation focused on chytrid in the same population revealed that it was present in 30% of captured individuals and two dead individuals were found (Salazar-Valenzuela 2007). In 2008, the construction of a highway severely affected part of the population due to the disposal of waste in the ravine. Since 2009, searches in the locality reported a low density of individuals and in recent years the population has disappeared from that locality. The other localities where it still survives are threatened by deforestation and mining, mainly.

¿A dónde queremos llegar? / Our goal

We have two main objectives: the first is to have a backup population in the laboratory that is genetically viable and that serves as a second line of defense against species extinction. The second is to repopulate the Napinaza ravine with its harlequin frogs.

Pasos para alcanzar la meta / Steps towards success

  • Rearing and reproduction of parents in Centro Jambatu facilities (in process)
  • Development of a large population in the laboratory (in process)
  • Carry out reintroduction trials to investigate the process that must be followed to achieve a successful reintroduction of the species (2024-2025)
  • Monitor the released population (2024-2026).
  • Replicate in other species

Auspiciantes / Supporting Organizations

  • Wikiri Sapoparque
  • Rewild
  • St. Louis Zoo

Your contribution is a concrete action for its conservation

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