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Ridge Marsupial Frog (Gastrotheca psychrophila)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 172515484

Conservation of the Ridge Marsupial Frog (Gastrotheca psychrophila) in southern Ecuador

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 172515484) - Ridge Marsupial Frog - Awarded $12,450 on June 12, 2017

According to the IUCN Red List, Gastrotheca psychrophila is currently listed as an “Endangered” species. However, at the recently held (16 – 19 July 2016) workshop where the IUCN Red List status of 200 Ecuadorian frog species was updated, it was considered as "Critically Endangered" and it will be soon listed as such. The main assessment criterion was that the extent of occurrence is estimated to be less than 100 square kilometers, being severely fragmented or known to exist at only a single location. Its major threat is habitat destruction and degradation, largely due to conversion of original habitat to pine tree plantations, and expanding agriculture-livestock. 

Project Activities

Objective 1. Conservation of the Ridge Marsupial Frog in the Madrigal Reserve.

A.1. Ecological study in the Madrigal Reserve with the aim of assessing the population range, size and health and investigating life-history parameters, especially its breeding biology. This activity will provide basic information needed for the long-term conservation of the species.

A.2 Removal of invasive pine trees and plantation of native species in Madrigal Reserve. This action will prevent the increasing habitat destruction and degradation due to the extension of pine tree plantations, and hopefully improve the habitat quality, planting native species to allow better conditions for the recovery and conservation of the target species.

A.3. Awareness-raising campaign aimed to involve the local communities and institutions in the long-term conservation of the species.

Objective 2. Identification of additional populations in Southern Ecuador.

A.4. Search for new Ridge Marsupial Frog populations in southern Ecuador (Loja-Zamora Provinces) through monitoring research activities to update and thoroughly assess its range and current population status.

A.5. Publishing the results and achievements of the project. This action will promote a wide dissemination of biological, ecological and threat updating data needed for the management and conservation of the target species.

We use, in our inventory activities, a nondestructive DNA tissue sampling method (already tested buccal swabbing method), that reliable species identification without the need of collecting and sacrificing the captured individuals.

The project is carried out through the collaboration of the Asociacion Chelonia, the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja and the Madrigal del Podocarpus Natural Reserve.

Project 172515484 location - Ecuador, South America