Venezuelan toads at risk of extinction

Venezuelan toads at risk of extinction


Venezuelan frogs and toads are in critical danger due to climate change as rising temperatures complicate reproduction and spread a deadly fungus, say scientists, who liken the species to canaries in a coalmine warning of imminent danger.Scientists studying global warming have warned that rising temperatures make many species worldwide vulnerable, but the phenomenon is already playing out in Latin America where frog and toad species are heading toward extinction.”Some 60-70 percent of (amphibians) are in critical danger or almost extinct,” said Luis Merlo, a veterinarian working with the animals, surrounded by terrariums filled with small toads.The survival of nearly 20 frog and toad species, which top Venezuela’s list of endangered species, may rest on a small group of academics in a Caracas laboratory attempting to recreate the amphibians’ natural reproductive conditions.Merlo leads Venezuela’s first center for the conservation of amphibians, where studies them in hope of boosting the fledgling population.Amphibians in the Venezuelan wild have been increasingly threatened over the last two decades, according to this year’s “Red Book of Venezuelan Fauna,” published by a group of Venezuela-based scientists.

There are 15 species of a small frog endemic to Venezuela’s mountains that have been hit especially hard, their brilliant colors not seen for some three decades.Biodiverse Venezuela boasts vast tracts of rainforest, Andean mountains and Caribbean coastline. It is in the world’s top 10 nations in terms of amphibian numbers.”They are very sensitive, dependent on the environment and beneficial to humans,” Merlo said.


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