A four-day amphibian survey in Ecuador’s new Antisanilla Reserve has resulted in a new register of the San Lucas Marsupial Frog (Gastrotheca pseustes).
The San Lucas Marsupial Frog is restricted to Ecuador’s parámo grassland environment and is found at elevations of 6,500 feet and higher. Its population has likely been reduced due to climate change, pathogens, extensive use of pesticides, habitat loss and the introduction of non-native species.
Antisanilla and the neighboring Antisana Ecological Reserve likely play an important role in the survival of other threatened amphibians as well. Future studies will determine the presence of these species, which include the Endangered Antisana Pulp Toad (Osornophryne antisana), an endemic species found only in páramo soils of the Napo, Pichincha and Tungurahua province; Espada’s Rocket Frog (Hyloxalus pulchellus), classified as Vulnerable by IUCN; and others. Antisana is recognized as an Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) site based on the occurrence of endangered amphibians.
Amphibian Survival Alliance partner Rainforest Trust plans to support additional monitoring surveys of Antisanilla’s threatened amphibian species in the months that come.
The organization will also provide financial resources to construct wetland fences that will bar cattle from access to critical amphibian habitat. It will also assist in the design and implementation of a reserve management strategy ensuring the survival of endangered species in the newly protected area.
The 6,100- acre Antisanilla Reserve was created earlier this year with support from Rainforest Trust, the Amphibian Survival Alliance, the Andrew Sabin Foundation and others working in collaboration with Ecuadorian partner Fundación Jocotoco. The four-day study was supported by Nigel Simpson.