Hello, and thank you for visiting our page! My name is Jonathan and I'm a National Geographic Explorer and PhD candidate at James Cook University. My frog rescue team is racing to save species from extinction. We need your help to finish building the Honduras Amphibian Rescue & Conservation Center to get this program hopping!
In Honduras, three species of endangered frogs in Cusuco National Park are slipping towards extinction caused by a deadly pathogen called amphibian chytrid fungus. This pathogen is spreading around the world, but unfortunately the amazing amphibians of Honduras have received little conservation attention. Now, the frogs need our help!
The three frogs we're racing to save are pictured below. They are: 1) the Cusuco spike-thumb frog (Plectrohyla dasypus), 2) the Exquisite spike-thumb frog (Plectrohyla exquisita), and 3) the Mossy red-eyed frog (Duellmanohyla soralia).
Protecting these beautiful frogs is important for many reasons. For example:
The three endangered species we're working to protect live in Cusuco National Park, a breathtaking rainforest that sits in the clouds on top of a mountain in Honduras. We have been working here for nearly 10 years, studying these amazing animals in the wild.
Cusuco National Park (Cusuco) is located in the Merendon Mountains of northwestern Honduras. Cusuco harbors remarkable biodiversity and is ranked among the “top 100 most irreplaceable sites” in the world from an analysis of over 173,000 protected areas. In Cusuco, there are 14 amphibian species listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, with five also endemic to this one location. For this reason, Cusuco is also recognized as a site of global importance by the Alliance for Zero Extinction.
More broadly, Cusuco is part of the “Meso-American biodiversity hotspot” and protects a variety of additional threatened and endangered species, including Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii), jaguar (Panthera onca), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), margay (Leopardus wiedii), jaguarondi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi), Geoffroy’s spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), the Golden-cheeked warbler (Setophaga chrysoparia) and resplendent quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno). During our frog rescue project, we will help raise global awareness about the need to protect this critically important rainforest for all the incredible wildlife it supports.
To protect these frogs from extinction, we recently started building the Honduras Amphibian Rescue & Conservation Center (HARCC) at Lancetilla Botanical Gardens in Tela, Honduras. When completed, HARCC will become the headquarters for our long-term frog rescue program.
Once fully operational, our frog rescue activities will begin with a "head-start" program to keep these three endangered species alive in the wild: we will collect large numbers of baby frogs from the rainforest in Cusuco before they die from chytridiomycosis (the disease caused by chytrid infection), transport them to our biosecure HARCC facility where we can cure their chytrid infection, care for them in this safe environment until they become strong healthy adults with better immune systems, and then reintroduce these healthy adults back into the rainforest. These adult frogs have greater resistance to disease than their babies, so this head-start approach aims to increase the number of adult frogs breeding in the wild and producing offspring to help offset the high death rate of juveniles. This conservation method has previously been successful in assuring the survival of a variety wildlife species, but has rarely been applied to help frogs combat chytrid fungus in the wild.
We believe this method will stabilize and hopefully increase frog populations in Cusuco and reduce the likelihood of extinction. By repeating this year after year, it will also allow natural selection to continue searching for animals genetically resistant to this disease, and eventually these frogs might be able to develop their own immunity over time.
At the same time as head-starting, we will also operate a captive breeding program to protect populations for reintroduction if sudden unpredictable extinction occurs (e.g from natural disasters like forest fires or illegal habitat destruction, both of which we have already observed in Cusuco).
We previously raised the funds needed to begin constructing the HARCC rescue facility, but now we need your help to finish the job!
Your contributions will go towards:
To show our appreciation for your support, we have some nifty perks for you!
Some of these include photographs of the endangered species you're helping to save, beautiful hand-painted artwork, and even a rainforest tour to see these amazing frogs in the wild!
***A perk for EVERYONE! Every dollar counts and we truly appreciate each donation! If you make ANY contribution to this campaign, we will publicly thank you on our website at www.FrogRescue.com when this campaign is finished. Please Note: We fully respect your privacy, so if for any reason you do not want to be listed on our website, just send a quick message to info@FrogRescue.com and we will be happy to oblige!***
The conservation program developed at HARCC will become an increasingly important global response model to help combat amphibian extinction caused by chytrid fungus. This pathogen continues to spread uncontrolled around the world and chytrid-free habitats are disappearing. We need to explore potential solutions within this context, and that's exactly what we're trying to accomplish by working to keep these endangered frog species alive in the wild. The conservation work performed by HARCC will become the first in Honduras, and one of few in the world, to reintroduce large numbers of adult amphibians back into their original chytrid-positive habitat in a major attempt to prevent disease-driven extinction of wild populations.
To minimize risks involved with this project, we previously invested several years of research and planning into this effort to increase the likelihood of long-term success. We now possess a strong foundation of international partners, involving biologists, amphibian care experts, and government authorities in the USA, Honduras, and the UK. Click HERE to read more about the core HARCC team members.
Every dollar counts! If we exceed our fundraising goal, additional funds will go towards housing repair costs to fix up an old building where local HARCC staff will live while running frog rescue activities. This building needs a lot of TLC, but is located in a great spot--just 5 minutes down the road from the HARCC rescue facility. Additional funds will also be put towards our next big field survey to measure current levels of amphibian pathogens in Cusuco.
Together with your help, we'll finally have the resources we need to start fighting amphibian extinction in Honduras!
Thank you for your support!Jonathan Kolby
Here are your choices for the Photo Perks listed above: