Deep in the heart of the Colombian rainforests lives the Golden Poison Frog (Phyllobates Terribilis) – one of the most awe-inspiring species known to mankind and considered to be the most poisonous vertebrate on Earth. International conservation charity, World Land Trust (WLT), is delighted to announce that they have created the first nature reserve to save this spectacular species from extinction.
The Golden Poison Frog is listed on the IUCN Red List as ‘Endangered’ and recent years have seen a dramatic decline in its numbers, linked to the loss of the frog’s habitat. Until WLT secured the Rana Terribilis Amphibian Reserve, this species did not occur in any other protected areas and its survival hung in the balance. WLT was able to fund the purchase of the reserve through a generous donation from their long-term corporate supporter, Puro, an organic Fairtrade coffee producer.
Just 55mm in length, this tiny creature carries enough poison to kill about 10 humans, with just a single milligram of toxin. The frog’s skin is drenched in an alkaloid poison (batrachotoxins) that prevents nerves from transmitting impulses, leaving the muscles in an inactive state of contraction, leading to heart failure and death within minutes. Long-recognised by the indigenous cultures in Colombia for its lethal poison, the Choco Emberā Indians would gently brush the tips of the arrows and darts on the frog’s back (which causes it no harm), rendering the weapon lethal for over two years after.
But even the frog’s lethal poison cannot protect it from the threats that humans pose. Deforestation, illegal gold-mining and illicit coca cultivation have all taken their toll. The frog is dependent on primary forest, and occurs across less than 150miles² of rainforest in Colombia, making it extremely vulnerable. However, WLT is thrilled to report that there is a healthy population of the Golden Poison Frog living in the rich undergrowth on the newly-created reserve. By working together, WLT and Puro are committed to ensuring the survival of this infamous species so that it can continue to fascinate generations to come.
Full Press release: http://www.worldlandtrust.org/documents/press-release-golden-poison-frog-feb2012.pdf (183KB) (opens in new window)
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