Honduras Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Center (HARCC)
The endangered amphibians of Honduras are experiencing a storm of assaults from habitat destruction, climate change, and emerging infectious diseases. A growing number of species face an uncertain future unless ex situmanagement efforts are soon implemented to ensure long-term survival. Cusuco National Park (CNP) is a biodiversity hotspot recognized by the Alliance for Zero Extinction for the Honduran endemic amphibians found only in this one location. Despite its relatively small size (approximately 120 square miles), CNP provides refuge for 16 amphibian species listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
To combat amphibian biodiversity loss, the Honduras Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Center (HARCC) is now in construction, and was made possible by funding from an ASA Seed Grant, Amphibian Ark Seed Grant, the Chicago Zoological Society-Chicago Board of Trade Endangered Species Fund, Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation, and a generous donation from the Omaha Zoo Foundation. Our long-term surveys have shown that amphibians in Honduras remain in jeopardy from diseases and our efforts aim to ensure the long-term survival of three critically endangered species in CNP: two endemic Spike-thumb Frogs, Plectrohyla dasypus and Plectrohyla exquisita, and the red-eyed treefrog Duellmanohyla soralia. Illegal deforestation and chytridiomycosis are negatively impacting each life stage of these species, pushing them closer towards extinction. The rescue efforts of this project will tackle both short and long-term threats by performing a head-start program to quickly produce healthy adult animals for supplementation of wild populations while simultaneously building captive assurance populations for long-term protection and reintroduction.
Plectrohyla exquisita. Photo: Jonathan Kolby.
We are now in the process of transforming two 20-foot insulated shipping containers into our biosecure amphibian laboratories. Amphibians will be treated for disease and raised inside these clean spaces, protected from outside threats. After construction has been completed at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium in the USA, they will be shipped to Honduras and installed onsite at Lancetilla.
You can now see HARCC amphibian rescue updates as they happen by following our new Facebook page! Simply click here and request notifications: HARCC-Honduras Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Center. You can also follow us on Twitter: @HondurasARCC
The emerging infectious disease chytridiomycosis, caused by amphibian chytrid fungus, is driving global amphibian declines and extinctions and the amphibians of Honduras have received little conservation attention. The rescue efforts established by HARCC will prevent the extinction of three critically endangered amphibian species by performing a head-start program to quickly raise amphibians for reintroduction while simultaneously creating captive assurance populations for long-term protection against extinction.
Plectrohyla dasypus. Photo: Jonathan Kolby.
Team Members and Partner Organizations
- IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (Jonathan Kolby)
- The Henry Doorly Zoo (Jessi Krebs & Brandon Greaves)
- El Jardin Botanico y Centro de Investigacion Lancetilla
- Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Forestales (ESNACIFOR)
- Departamento de Vida Silvestre del Instituto Nacional de Conservacion y Desarrollo Forestal Areas Protegidas y Vida Silvestre; Honduran Government; (ICF)
- Operation Wallacea
- Expediciones y Servicios Ambientales de Cusuco (ESAC)
HARCC is continuing to seek funding to support operational costs and for the monitoring of Bd in Honduras. If you would like to further support this project or invest in the Amphibian Survival Alliance’s Seed Grant program please contact Candace Hansen-Hendrikx, Director of Communications & Partnerships.
Your donation will make an immediate, real, and lasting impact. As a global alliance with partners generous enough to cover our operational costs, we are able to channel 100% of your donations directly to helping save these amphibians.