The endangered amphibians of Honduras are experiencing a storm of assaults from habitat destruction, climate change, and emerging infectious diseases. A growing number of species face an uncertain future unless ex situ management efforts are soon implemented to ensure long-term survival. Cusuco National Park (CNP) is a biodiversity hotspot recognized by the Alliance for Zero Extinction for the Honduran endemic amphibians found only in this one location. Despite its relatively small size (approximately 120 square miles), CNP provides refuge for 16 amphibian species listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
To combat amphibian biodiversity loss, I have established the Honduras Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Center (HARCC). This rescue center is now in construction, and was made possible by funding from an ASA Seed Grant, Amphibian Ark Seed Grant, the Chicago Zoological Society-Chicago Board of Trade Endangered Species Fund, Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation, and a generous donation from the Omaha Zoo Foundation. Our long-term surveys have shown that amphibians in Honduras remain in jeopardy from diseases and our efforts aim to ensure the long-term survival of three critically endangered species in CNP: two endemic Spike-thumb Frogs, Plectrohyla dasypus and Plectrohyla exquisita, and the mossy red-eyed treefrog Duellmanohyla soralia. Illegal deforestation and chytridiomycosis are negatively impacting each life stage of these species, pushing them closer towards extinction.
The rescue efforts by this project will tackle both short and long-term threats by performing a head-start program to quickly produce healthy adult animals for reintroduction and supplementation of wild populations while simultaneously building captive assurance populations for long-term protection and reintroduction.
I will continue to add updates here as this exciting project moves forward!