Thursday, April 10, 2008

Good News: the Golden Frog is Not Extinct in the Wild

From the English-language section of

Panamá, Friday April 10 2008

Golden frog may escape extinction

"We could be witnessing the greatest extinction since the dinosaurs," explained Jeff Corwin, host of the popular television show "Animal Planet." Corwin was in Panama to film the first leg of a research project that will take him South America, Africa and Australia as well.

Corwin is investigating the massive and somewhat sudden extinction of amphibians around the world, specifically frogs, toads, newts and salamanders. Panama has not been spared the disappearance of these sensitive and wonderful creatures. The golden frog, the country's most well known amphibian, recognized worldwide for its extraordinary beauty, is on the verge of disappearing.

The species has suffered from deforestation and urbanization, but the principal cause of its demise is an aquatic fungus that adheres to its skin, asphyxiating and dehydrating the tiny creature.

The odds of anyone finding the endemic species where Corwin and his knowledgeable guide and colleague, Edgardo Griffith, director of the Centro de Conservación de Anfibios El Níspero, went looking for them, were miniscule. The frog was believed to be extinct in the area.

"A few years ago I was doing a show in the extraordinary region of Darién," Corwin said, "and we discovered some spectacular species of frogs. Three years later, when I went back to the region to document them, we travelled all over the area and weren't able to find any."

Yet to their astonishment, in the town of Copé in the province of Coclé, they found 15 adolescent frogs accompanied by an adult.

The golden frog will be featured in Corwin's forthcoming documentary, "The Vanishing Frog."
I had heard that these Animal Planet fellows were here in town. A few young American expats here (children of the Blume family) went with them on their expedition to the Darién, and returned vowing never to do it again.

That's great news about the the symbol of El Vallé - the golden frog. I have noticed a dramatic reduction in the number and variety of frogs here in El Vallé, and I understand that many species in the wild have disappeared altogether. Hang in there, rana dorada! Fight the fungus that be!

P.S.'s English-language supplement can be found here:


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