Amphibian Breeding and Awareness

To breed and raise awareness of amphibians in Colombia

 

In 2009, the Santacruz Zoological Foundation, being aware of local environmental degradation and the biodiversity richness of the region, started a research programme in partnership with the Foundation Vida Silvestre for the conservation of local amphibians, which comprised three main components: (1) Preliminary identification of the species in the region. (2) Training of local guides and environmental interpreters from Santacruz by providing tools to teach working sessions on educational topics, increase environmental awareness and community-based conservation involvement. (3) Installation of terrariums for display and management of three amphibian species in captivity.

 

This initial project was the starting point for developing a conservation plan for frog species from the Tequendama region, led by the Santacruz Zoological Foundation. Until now, four species of frogs (Pristimantis renjiforum, Dendropsophus padreluna, Pristimantis susawae and Rheobates palmatus) have been found. One of them, Pristimantis renjiforum, is classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The educational programme has increased the community's knowledge of local frogs and also the level of involvement of the community. The educational outcomes include zoo staff trained for community work through experiential activities and field trips, in order to identify and empower leaders in local schools for local amphibian conservation and related topics.

 

The three species Pristimantis renjiforum, Dendropsophus padreluna and Rheobates palmatus have different reproductive strategies, which are going to be studied with the aim of developing husbandry protocols. The endangered Pristimantis renjiforum shows a reproductive strategy that so far has not been replicated in captivity. The other two species, Rheobates padreluna and Dendropsophus palmatus, will be managed in order to establish captive management protocols that can be used as models for (threatened) species with similar reproductive characteristics. The establishment of a laboratory for captive management and reproduction, equipped with basic utensils for its operation, may also be used to scientifically study the species and carry out research projects. It is also expected to continue strengthening the bioterium and species management to ensure covering the food requirements of the collection of amphibians in captivity.

 

The project further aims to continue training of environmental interpreters (zoo guides) and community leaders associated with the Education Department of Santacruz Zoo. Also, it expects to design an education programme for visitors, including the development of guides, games, interpretive activities and materials for weekend visitors, mainly families.

 

WAZA Conservation Project 11016 is implemented by the Santacruz Zoological Foundation, with support provided by the Chicago Zoological Society and involvement of the INCCA University Bogotá.

 

Visit www.zoosantacruz.org.

 

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