Newly discovered frog among entries to endangered list

TUESDAY, NOV. 3, 2009

GENEVA – A rare tree frog found only in central Panama could soon croak its last, as deforestation and infection push the species toward extinction, an environmental group said today.

The Rabb’s fringe-limbed tree frog, which only became known to science four years ago, is one of 1,895 amphibian species that could soon disappear in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Switzerland-based IUCN surveyed a total of 47,677 animals and plants for this year’s “Red List” of endangered species and determined that 17,291 of them are threatened with extinction. Governments and international conservation bodies use the Red List as guidance when deciding which species to place under legal protection.

More than one in five of all known mammals, over a quarter of reptiles and 70 percent of plants are under threat, according to the survey, which featured over 2,800 new species compared with 2008.

“These results are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Craig Hilton-Taylor, who manages the list. He said “many more millions” of species that have yet to be assessed could also be under serious threat.

The only mammal added to the list this year is the Eastern Voalavo, a rodent that lives in the mountainous forests of Madagascar. IUCN classified it as “endangered” – two steps from extinction in the wild – because its habitat is being destroyed by slash-and-burn farming.


Click here to comment on this story »