Developing A Comprehensive Conservation Strategy For Atelopus Species In Colombia

Colombia

Atelopus genus seem to be facing the greatest population declines and largest number of extinctions in Colombia. Of the 37 Atelopus species currently known in Colombia, 31 are critically endangered and some of these are likely extinct. Information on the conservation status of species dwelling in other regions, such as the pacific lowlands, is scarce. The exact causes of population collapses and widespread extinctions in this genus are uncertain and currently there is much debate about it. Some researchers have stated that introduction and spread of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in some areas has driven these declines. Others authors considers that Bd is endemic and declines result from changes in host susceptibility, pathogen virulence, habitat disturbance and climate change. Recent studies have shown that El Niño climatic events drove widespread amphibian extinctions through increased climatic variability, which can increase host susceptibility to Bdinfections. However, the lack of direct evidence of the Bd presence linking with the timing of these declines fails to attribute a role in the declines to the chytrid fungus. It is well known that these factors could operate in combination and cause population declines and species extinctions.

Atelopus gracilis, A. spurrelli, and A. limosus occurs in humid lowland forest of the Pacific region of Colombia (Chocó region). The population status of these three species is unknown, but it is believed that populations are declining due to a combination of human stressors as agricultural expansion, including illegal crops, logging for human settlement expansion, pollution from fumigation of illegal crops and ongoing mining activities. It is probable that well-conserved populations of these species are found inside the National Protected Areas in the region (National Natural Parks of Gorgona, Katios and Utria). However, these populations likely facing other issues as the presence of the Bd in this region (its presence has been confirmed by colleagues from Universidad de los Andes) and might also become a major threat in the near future, if not already. Under a scenario as such, a comprehensive conservation strategy, combining ex situ and in situ approaches, need to be developed quickly.

This project aims to compile information about population status of these three Atelopus species, understand the role of extinction drivers, and develop an action conservation plan in collaboration with Colombian environmental authorities and local communities. Specifically, we plan (i) to develop a comprehensive action plan (Conservation management plan) for three Atelopus species (Atelopus gracilis, A. spurrelli, and A. limosus), (ii) to conduct ecological surveys to evaluate populations status across region; (iii) to develop a long-term population monitoring program and (iv) to provide technical assistance to the National Parks Unit staff to conduct field amphibian assessments. This project will be successful because will combine compile key information from field studies and we will work closely with key stakeholders to generate an action conservation plan for Atelopus species. This plan would be implemented in other regions where other Atelopus species occurs and are declining by the same extinction drivers.

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Fast Facts

Location
Colombia

_MG_5097

Project Description
This projects aim to compile information about population status of these three Atelopus species, understand the role of extinction drivers, and develop an action conservation plan in collaboration with Colombian environmental authorities and local communities.

20120403_rep_no aplica_foto Atelopus elegans_DAG

Target Species

Atelopus gracilis  (Critically Endangered)

Atelopus spurrelli  (Vulnerable)

Atelopus limos us (Endangered)

Team Members

Julián A. Velasco (Laboratorio de Análisis Espaciales, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)

Diego Gómez-Hoyos (Grupo de Herpetología, Universidad del Quindío Armenia Colombia)

José Luis Garcia-Urdinola (Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia)

Funding Needs
If you would like to further support this project or invest in the Amphibian Survival Alliance’s Seed Grant program please contact James P. Lewis, Director of Operations.

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.

Explore More Projects

Location
Colombia

_MG_5097

Project Description
This projects aim to compile information about population status of these three Atelopus species, understand the role of extinction drivers, and develop an action conservation plan in collaboration with Colombian environmental authorities and local communities.

20120403_rep_no aplica_foto Atelopus elegans_DAG

 

Target Species

Atelopus gracilis  (Critically Endangered)

Atelopus spurrelli  (Vulnerable)

Atelopus limos us (Endangered)

Team Members

Julián A. Velasco (Laboratorio de Análisis Espaciales, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)

Diego Gómez-Hoyos (Grupo de Herpetología, Universidad del Quindío Armenia Colombia)

José Luis Garcia-Urdinola (Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia)

Funding Needs
If you would like to further support this project or invest in the Amphibian Survival Alliance’s Seed Grant program please contact James P. Lewis, Director of Operations.