Fundación ProAves – por las aves y su hábitat en Colombia

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Rediscovered Critically Endangered Amphibian after 36 years: Lynch’s Colombian tree frog

5 April, 2022

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Last seen 36 years ago, Lynch’s Colombia Tree Frog (Hyloscirtus lynchi) was considered extinct after many unsuccessful searches by hundreds of researchers over recent decades.

This large arboreal frog was discovered by Dr John Lynch and Dr Pedro Ruiz and is restricted to montane cloud forest of the eastern Andes of Santander department. It is assessed by the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered (CR), mainly due to the continuous impact of deforestation resulting in a decrease of its natural forest habitat.

After 9 months of searching for this species, Fundación ProAves researcher Elson Meneses finally located the first Lynch’s Colombia Tree Frog individual after 36 years in a new location of the edge of its suspected range. We suspect that the species has disappeared from its original habitat and now located at a higher elevation suggesting the effects of climate change have pressured it to gradually seek cooler climes higher in the Andes, but where very little natural habitat remains.

Lynch’s Colombian Tree Frog is part of a group of frogs of the genus Hyloscirtus called bogotensis, and is the unique of its group, by its uniform brown color with a lavender-colored sheen, and for presenting a sharp face in dorsal view.

Fundación ProAves researchers will intensify research towards establishing a Conservation Action Plan and then implement direct conservation actions to save this highly endangered species.

We are grateful to the intense fieldwork of Elson Meneses and other Fundación ProAves researchers and for support from the Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.