Preventing the disappearance of three frog species from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Edna Leticia González Bernal

Amphibian populations are declining globally at higher rates than other vertebrate groups. Despite its amphibian richness, conservation efforts in Mexico have not been focused on amphibian diversity.

We aim to study the population status of three endemic frog species distributed in montane cloud forest relicts in the northern Oaxaca range, all of them considered declining and two unseen since the 1980s. Through field surveys in unexplored areas we aim to rediscover the two uncollected species, detect viable populations of the three, estimate density, determine what affects their occurrence and take samples to test the presence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a chytrid fungus that causes the disease chytridiomycosis in amphibians and is suspected to be responsible for their decline. By surveying historical localities we will compare our findings to those recorded in previous surveys.

Our aim is to achieve the protection of the habitat where these species occur by rediscovering and increasing the knowledge of these enigmatic frogs, by improving the local's perception of amphibians through environmental education and by starting a citizen science project training and involving local people in amphibian monitoring activities. By doing so we will set a basis of biological knowledge to support the existent communal conservation area and promote its certification as a ‘community-designated voluntary conservation area’ recognized by the federal government.