Monitoring harlequins frogs in Sierra Nevada, Colombia

Luis Alberto Rueda Solano

The decline of Harlequin frog populations (Atelopus spp) have been documented as the most alarming case of species loss in recent history. The main threats to their populations are the fungal disease chytridiomycosis and climate change. Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in north Colombia is an important sanctuary for harlequin frogs due to the presence of several species with healthy populations. This project will create the base-line for a monitoring and conservation programme of Atelopus laetissimus and A. nahumae which are both found in this region. Long-term population monitoring will be implemented through capture-mark-recapture methods as an in-situ conservation action. Biosecurity and detection protocols of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis will be implemented. We will engage key stakeholders in strategic activities such as environmental education, monitoring and implementation of biosecurity protocols to safeguarding these highly threatened amphibians. Our results will contribute to understanding the long-term population dynamics of these species and how climate change, ecological and ecophysiological factors affect the survival of the harlequin frog in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

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