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Austral Andean Water Frog (Telmatobius contrerasi)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 200523538

Searching for the lost Austral Andean Water Frog (Telmatobius contrerasi), an endangered and endemic species from Gualcamayo, Argentina

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 200523538) - Austral Andean Water Frog - Awarded $5,000 on July 21, 2020

Telmatobius contrerasi Cei, 1977 has been listed as Data Deficient in 2004 by IUCN due to the absence of information on its extent of occurrence, status and ecological requirements. Later in 2012, the Argentine Herpetological Association listed this species as Threatened. Finnally, last assessed by IUCN in 2017, listed this species as Endangered. The current population trend is unknown. The species was originally described on the basis of three voucher specimens, and during the next 40 years, only 7 more individuals were found in the wild, in the exact same place. The type locality has been visited from 2005-2015 with an interval of two years, and no larvae or adults were observed. Despite the efforts to find and investigate this species, its biology and ecology remains unknown. T. contrerasi is a microendemic species from Argentina, with an estimated extent of occurrence of 185 km2, and all individuals occurs at a single threat-defined location.

Our main objective is to obtain new information that will be usefull to uptade the species conservation status. Therefore we aim to obtain new records of Telmatobius contrerasi, assess the threats that species faces and increase people interest. The initial effort will be destined to increase the knowledge on distributional range of the species using two approaches: field surveys, and citizen science. Since local participation is essential to ensure the success of conservation actions, we also aim to raise awareness about the situation of the Austral Andean Water Frog to the community. To achieve this, we will develop an awareness raising campaign that uses T. contrerasi as a flagship species, and to inform the society about the conservation status of amphibians worldwide and the actions needed to their conservation. If we could find a population of the species, we will also investigate natural history and ecology of the species, such as abundance, daily and seasonal activity, and habitat use on adults. Finnally, we also aim to asses the threats that species faces, such as presence of mercury, chytridiomycosis and exotic fishes in the streams in the distribution area of the species.

The project is part of the PRANA initiative (Proyecto Rana Andina Austral), which has been declared of environmental interest by the environmental authorities from San Juan government. The main goal of this initiative is to carry out a long term plan for the conservation of Telmatobius contrerasi. For more information about PRANA initiative please visit www.facebook.com/proyectoranaandinaaustral or www.instagram.com/proyectoranaandinaaustral

Project document