Reptiles Amphibians

Environmental education in a rural community shows the

On July 14, 2022, a team composed of a professor and students from the Federal University of Western Pará (UFOPA) conducted environmental education activities in the Community of Nova Betel, in Oriximiná, Pará State, Brazil. The activities were carried out at the Nova Betel Municipal Elementary School, a teaching hub in a region with several small communities, 80 km away from the town’s headquarters. According to the school teachers, approximately 200 people, including students from the 1st to the 9th grade of elementary school, as well as their families, such as mothers and fathers, participated.

Presentations were made about the amphibians and reptiles of the region and the importance of respecting and protecting these animals, as well as demystifying negative legends about them. Special focus was given to the Harlequin Toad (Atelopus hoogmoedi), a beautiful species that occurs in the region, with colors ranging from yellow to pink. After the lectures, playful and educational activities were held, such as a memory game with pictures of anurans of the region, an origami frog-shaped workshop, a board game about anurans and drawings for the children to color. The community’s participation and engagement were amazing, with a very positive feedback. Many people said they had seen the Harlequin Toad, and were happy to learn more about the species. This community was chosen to start this environmental education project because the Harlequin Toad has already been recorded in the region where it is located. In addition, the increase in deforestation in this area raises concerns about the future of these toads and other native species.

Harlequin Toads, also known as Atelopus, are considered the jewels of the Neotropics and are among the most amazing and colorful amphibians on Earth. Vibrant and diverse, they adorn the forests and watersheds of South and

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Rediscovered longnose harlequin toad classified as

International and local conservation organizations join local communities in calling for provincial court to honor human rights and rights of nature by ruling against mining in Intag Valley

Lea la versión en español de este artículo aquí.

On the same day that Ecuador’s provincial court is hearing a case to determine the future of the country’s incredibly biodiverse Intag Valley, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has officially updated the status of the longnose harlequin toad (Atelopus longirostris)–found only in Intag Valley–from extinct to critically endangered. 

“The rediscovery of the longnose harlequin toad after nearly three decades was one of the most exciting and hopeful rediscoveries of a lost species in recent years,” said Lina Valencia, Andean countries coordinator for Re:wild and leading founder of the Atelopus Survival Initiative. “But the moment the toad was rediscovered, it was already threatened by ongoing efforts to mine its only home for copper. Today, Ecuador and the world faces losing the longnose harlequin toad and a number of rare species if mining at Intag is not stopped.

For the past 30 years, the Intag Valley region has been the target of numerous mining corporations hoping to develop a copper mine, including the most recent: a large-scale open-pit copper mining project by Codelco, the Chilean state-owned mining company and the world’s biggest copper producer, along with Empresa Nacional Minera del Ecuador (Enami), Ecuador’s state-owned mining company. 

Local communities, which are profoundly connected to the land and wildlife around them, have been fighting off mining in the area for nearly three decades. In 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to recognize the constitutional rights of nature and this case could help set precedence for those rights.

The hearing in the provincial court of Imbabura province on

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Amphibian Survival Alliance Infectious Disease Mitigation

Please note that the deadline to apply to the current ASA Disease Mitigation Grants call has been extended and the criteria expanded.

Infectious diseases are considered one of the leading threats to amphibians around the world, causing population declines and extinctions even in relatively pristine areas. Today, despite decades of research, there are still very few tools available for conservation practitioners to deal with the disease when it arrives in susceptible populations. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the development of effective strategies to address and combat these threats. The Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA), with the support of Synchronicity Earth’s Amphibian Endowment Fund, founded in honour of Dr. George Rabb, aims to fund projects on disease mitigation that seeks to tackle this conservation challenge through science, policy and effective collaborations across disciplines.

Grant Criteria:

ASA Infectious Disease Mitigation Grants aim to facilitate projects that have the potential to inform the development of solutions or strategies for minimizing the impacts of amphibian diseases, and that may be candidates for ongoing funding. Grants of up to US$5,000 are currently available from ASA, and are organised in collaboration with Synchronicity Earth.

In this call, ASA welcomes applications from all regions of the world. Priority may be given to projects with direct application and relevance to on-the-ground disease management, and to projects that benefit amphibian populations in lower- and middle-income countries and where the lead or co-lead of the project is an early career researcher/conservationist based in the project country, although these requirements are not mandatory. All projects will be considered for funding on their own merits.

Likewise, projects in developing countries that are led by (or integrally include) local partners will be prioritised, as will projects that focus on globally Threatened/Data Deficient amphibian species. While we appreciate efforts to keep regionally threatened

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PA Woods and Forests highlights frogs, toads during Frog

If you enjoy seeing and hearing frogs and toads, you’ll soon have the opportunity to watch new videos of the lives of these Pennsylvania creatures as part of Frog Week.

Aaron Capouellez, 26, of Cambria County, is the president and founder of PA Woods and Forests, a group aimed at education and conservation of amphibians, reptiles and carnivorous plants.

His team has created an event called Frog Week, which starts Monday. They will be showing a dozen videos online of the native frogs and toads that come out from late February to July. Frog Week will feature wood frogs, American toads, gray tree frogs, and pickerel frogs. 

New videos will be released each day during the first week of August through the organization’s YouTube channel, website pawoodsandforests.com, Facebook, and Instagram.

“There are a lot of cool things people will get a chance to see and how these different places are making an impact,” Capouellez said.

Starting Aug. 15, the organization will celebrate Conservation Week by highlighting and promoting different businesses, nonprofits and individuals who are making a difference in the environment. This project will highlight how these different groups are focusing on conservation from international and national conservation to backyard conservation. 

“It’s my way of giving back to a lot of these places to do these events,” Capouellez said about videos with frog walks, nature hikes and a millipede roundup.

Aaron Capouellez stands on the bridge of his pond filled with aquatic life in Stonycreek Township on the border of Cambria and Somerset counties.

Capouellez is a second-semester graduate student studying biology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a focus on herpetology, the study of amphibians and reptiles. His thesis will be on frogs and toads.

He started the PA Woods and Forest website in 2019 to “create a platform for animals around the state and other creatures that were deemed repulsive or they were viewed as not important. … There’s not a lot

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Herpetofauna survey records presence of 60 species of

Surveys conducted simultaneously in six protected areas of Munnar wildlife division

Surveys conducted simultaneously in six protected areas of Munnar wildlife division

A herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles) survey conducted simultaneously in six protected areas of the Munnar wildlife division has recorded the presence of 60 species of amphibians and 74 reptiles.

The surveys were conducted simultaneously at the national parks of Eravikulam, Mathikettan Shola, Anamundi Shola and Pampadum Shola and the wildlife sanctuaries of Chinnar and Kurinjimala recently. Though individual surveys are conducted in each protected area, it was for the first time a herpetofaunal survey covering all of the protected areas were carried out, says the wildlife researchers involved in the programme.

The survey was led by S.V. Vinod, Wildlife Warden of the Munnar wildlife division; P.S. Easa, former director of the Kerala Forest Research Institute; and researchers Sandeep Das and K.P. Rajkumar.

Different habitats

The surveys covered the different habitats of the Munnar division spread across 230 square kilometres.

The presence of one caecilian, two shieldtails and one ground gecko, which could be new to science, was recorded. Detailed investigations were required to confirm the identity of the species, says Mr. Das.

Among the recorded reptiles, 29 are endemic to the Western Ghats.

Forty-five amphibians endemic to the Western Ghats, including Kadalar Swamp Frog, Toad Skinned Leaping Frog, Munnar Torrent Frog, Cold Stream Torrent Frog, and around 20 threatened species, including critically endangered species such as Resplendent Shrub Frog, Sushil’s Bush Frog, Anamala Gliding Frog and Griet Bush Frog were recorded in the survey, says a communication.

Gunther’s Toad, recorded only thrice from Kerala, was reported from multiple camps in the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in good numbers.

The four-day survey, organised by the Kerala Forest and Wildlife department and Aranyakam Nature Foundation, witnessed around 100 forest officers and

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Summer biology class explores Indiana reptiles, amphibians:

KOKOMO, Ind. —As Michael Finkler’s class used net poles to push aside tall grass leading down to the still waters of Lake Sheryl, suddenly, something slithered by, slipping down into the water.

Without hesitation, Finkler dove sideways, arms outstretched, scrabbling through the grass, trying to capture the elusive copper bellied water snake, with no luck.

That’s all part of herping — searching for amphibians and reptiles.

Each week during the summer session, Finkler leads a Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles class to a new location, seeking specific species they’ve discussed in online lectures.

“I get to expose students to this whole hidden natural world,” said FInkler, professor of physiology. “The scope of the natural world around us is so much vaster than most people appreciate. There are enormous conservation concerns with many of these species, and people aren’t aware  of them because they are out of sight, out of mind.”

On this particular day, students slogged through the wetlands at the Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, near Seymour. Armed with nets on long poles, they dipped into the water, looking to see what turned up, and used the pole ends to poke into the grass. They also peered under flat rocks in a creek bed and along a reservoir, hoping to find the endangered copper bellied water snake that was the focus of their day, as sightings have been reported there.

And while they might have only caught a fleeting glimpse of it, they saw plenty of other wildlife — including two midland water snakes, dozens of tiny juvenile five-lined skinks, tadpoles, and possibly northern leopard frogs.

Senior Grace Lefler was most excited about the skinks because she was the first person to be able to catch one.

“I started flipping over the rocks, so there wasn’t anywhere to hide,” she

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