Planning Workshops

Conservation needs assessment workshops

Amphibian Ark staff help coordinate ex situ programs implemented by partners around the world, with the first emphasis on programs within the range countries of the species. We are always aware of our obligation to couple ex situ conservation measures with the necessary efforts to protect or restore species in their natural habitats.

Our Taxon Officers help to coordinate all aspects of implementation within the AArk initiative and assist AArk partners in identifying priority taxa for in situ or ex situ conservation work. An initial part of this process involves evaluating species, to help conservation managers maximize the impact of their limited conservation resources by identifying which amphibian species are most in need of particular types of conservation action.

Ex situ conservation of a threatened amphibian species is considered a necessity when the imperative of in situ conservation cannot by itself ensure the survival of a species and its ecosystem. When ex situ management of an amphibian species is considered necessary and appropriate, the priority should be to establish the initiative within the range State of ecological origin.

In 2006, CBSG and WAZA held an Amphibian Ex Situ Conservation Planning workshop in Panama, and during that workshop, a taxon selection and prioritization working group developed a series of questions to select and prioritize which taxa are most in need of ex situ assistance. The decision tree has subsequently been further reviewed and refined, and has now been developed into the AArk Conservation Needs Assessment process, (a Spanish version, Herramienta para Evaluar las Necesidades de Conservación de Anfibios, is also available) and a standardized electronic data entry tool, using Microsoft Excel. The assessment process has proven to be a logical, transparent, and repeatable procedure for guiding amphibian conservation activities within a country or region.

Generally, the ex situ conservation community lacks specific knowledge to determine which species are most at risk in the wild, and which species need immediate rescue to avoid extinction. When preparing for an AArk Conservation Needs Assessment workshop, we rely heavily on the local IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group Chairs to assemble a similar team of experts to that which led the original 2004 Global Amphibian Assessment, but this time with a goal of updating the information and separating out and assessing all taxa to determine the best conservation actions to help ensure their ultimate survival in the wild. The assessment results in a series of reports for nine different conservation actions. Species are listed according to their priority for the particular conservation action, and the supporting documentation provides a guide for those species which have the most chance of benefiting from the prescribed conservation action(s).

Since 2007, we have facilitated assessment of the conservation needs of 3,375 (46%) of the world’s amphibian species through 26 national or regional workshops. Additional workshops are planned for other countries and regions over the coming months. The results of previous assessment workshops are available on on the Assessment Results page of our web site.

The benefits of this assessment process are clear – we assemble the leading amphibian field experts in each region, to collectively determine the best course of conservation actions to help prevent the extinctions of threatened amphibian species in the wild. These actions include habitat restoration and preservation, threat mitigation, captive breeding for release and community awareness and involvement.

Without immediate captive management as a stopgap component of an integrated conservation effort, hundreds of species could become extinct. Because ex situ resources are limited, the Amphibian Ark must try to identify which species require ex situ management most urgently.


Amphibian Conservation Needs Assessment workshop for the Philippines, July 1-4 2014

Philippine assessment workshop participantsIn July 2014, the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines, hosted a workshop to assess the conservation needs of all Philippine amphibians. During the workshop, 113 species of amphibians were assessed and prioritized for their conservation actions. It was evident during the assessment process that many of the Red List categories that have been assigned to local species are now quite out of date, with most not being updated since 2004. Although the group wasn’t able to complete Red List assessments during the workshop, the Red List categories used to complete this assessment were revised to their estimated values, based upon the expertise of the workshop participants. It is quite clear that Philippine amphibians are in need of a complete Red List re-assessment.

According to the estimated Red List categories, Philippine amphibians fall into the following Red List categories: Critically Endangered (1), Endangered (1), Vulnerable (21), Near Threatened (32), Least Concern (25) and Data Deficient (33).

Fifteen participants representing nine different organizations in the Philippines systematically assessed the species using the AArk’s conservation needs assessment process, with each species being recommended for one or more of the following conservation actions:

  • Ex Situ Rescue: 2 species that are in imminent danger of extinction (nationally) and require ex situ management, as part of an integrated program, to ensure their survival.
  • In Situ Conservation: 35 species for which mitigation of threats in the wild may still bring about their successful conservation.
  • In Situ Research: 46 species that for one or more reasons require further in situ research to be carried out as part of the conservation action for the species. One or more critical pieces of information is not known at this time.
  • Ex Situ Research: 40 species currently undergoing, or proposed for specific applied research that directly contributes to the conservation of the species, or a related species, in the wild (this includes clearly defined ‘model’ or ‘surrogate’ species).
  • Mass Production in Captivity: 1 species threatened through wild collection (e.g. as a food resource), which could be bred in captivity – normally in-country, ex situ – to replace a demand for wild harvested specimens.
  • Conservation Education: 42 species that are specifically selected for management – primarily in zoos and aquariums – to inspire and increase knowledge in visitors, in order to promote positive behavioral change.
  • Biobanking: 2 species for which the long-term storage of sperm or cells to perpetuate their genetic variation is urgently recommended, due the serious threat of extinction of the species.
  • No Conservation Action Required: 19 species that do not require any conservation action at this point in time.

During the last day of the workshop, participants drafted the outline for a National Amphibian Action Plan for the Philippines, and allocated authors for each section of the document. This will be a detailed national action plan, and will include the priorities and recommendations produced during the workshop. It is anticipated that the action plan will be published before the end of 2014.

As with other recent amphibian conservation needs assessment workshops, AArk staff are working with the local amphibian conservation community to identify a suitable person to appoint to a half-time National Amphibian Conservation Coordinator position for a period of 12 months. This person will work with participants from the assessment and other stakeholders to complete the writing and publishing of the national amphibian action plan and will then help to develop further species-level conservation action plans and to help forge new partnerships, both in-country and internationally, to ensure that recommendations from the workshop are implemented in a coordinated way. Funding is being sought to employ a suitable candidate. Experience has shown that having a person dedicated to this type of role for a period after the assessment workshop will lead to a more coordinated response, and conservation programs which have a better chance of achieving their aims. AArk staff will continue to provide support and advice as required, to ensure the best possible outcomes for the long term survival of amphibians in the wild in the Philippines.

Funding for the workshop was generously provided by Chester Zoo and the University of Santo Tomas, with the University of Santo Tomas providing the workshop venue and equipment.


Amphibian Conservation Needs Assessment workshop for Ecuador, May 21-24 2012

In May 2012 the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador (PUCE), in Quito, Ecuador, hosted a workshop to assess the conservation needs of Ecuadorian amphibians. During the workshop, 265 of Ecuador’s 531 species of amphibians were assessed, including all 241 threatened species (Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable and Near Threatened), and 24 species categorized in the IUCN Red List as Least Concern or Data Deficient.

Participants representing eight different organizations systematically assessed the species using the AArk’s conservation needs assessment process, with each species being recommended for one or more of the following conservation actions:

  • Rescue: 55 species that are in imminent danger of extinction (nationally) and require ex situ management, as part of an integrated program, to ensure their survival.
  • In Situ Conservation: 202 species for which mitigation of threats in the wild may still bring about their successful conservation.
  • In Situ Research: 290 species that for one or more reasons require further in situ research to be carried out as part of the conservation action for the species. One or more critical pieces of information is not known at this time.
  • Ex Situ Research: 28 species currently undergoing, or proposed for specific applied research that directly contributes to the conservation of the species, or a related species, in the wild (this includes clearly defined ‘model’ or ‘surrogate’ species).
  • Conservation Education: 64 species that are specifically selected for management – primarily in zoos and aquariums – to inspire and increase knowledge in visitors, in order to promote positive behavioral change.
  • Biobanking: 55 species for which the long-term storage of sperm or cells to perpetuate their genetic variation is urgently recommended, due the serious threat of extinction of the species.
  • No Conservation Action Required: 22 species that do not require any conservation action at this point in time.

Due to time constraints 266 species classified as Least Concern or Data Deficient were not assessed during the workshop.

The complete results from the workshop are available on Amphibian Ark’s data portal, www.amphibianark.org/assessmentresults.htm

Funding for the workshop was generously provided by Saint Louis Zoo and Chicago Zoological Society’s Chicago Board of Trade Endangered Species Fund, with Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador providing the workshop venue and equipment.


Amphibian Conservation Needs Assessment workshop for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, March 26-30 2012

The Institute of Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, at the Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology in Hanoi, Vietnam, hosted a five-day amphibian conservation needs assessment workshop in March 2012. During the workshop, the conservation needs of 203 species of amphibians occurring in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were assessed.

Workshop participants in Hanoi, VietnamTwenty participants met during the five-day period, with representatives from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Germany, France, China, Australia, the Philippines, and the USA. The workshop was jointly funded by grants from the Conservation Food and Health Foundation, the Conservation and Collection Management Committee of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and the Prince Bernhard Fund For Nature.

Two main issues were re-iterated during the workshop. Firstly, there is very little known about many amphibian species in the wild in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and a great deal more field research is required to obtain a thorough understanding of the status of the region’s amphibians. Secondly, although a number of species occur in protected areas within the region, most of these protected areas are not providing effective protection, and there is still collection of animals, habitat destruction for agriculture and mining taking place in these areas. This is especially evident in Cambodia where there is almost not real protection for natural habitat.

During the workshop, 90 species were recommended for in situ conservation work to ensure their survival in the wild, 123 species (mostly classified as Data Deficient) require additional in situ research to determine their distribution or the threats they face, 5 species were identified as husbandry analogs for more threatened species or for ex situ research, 81 species were identified as being suitable for conservation education purposes and there were 25 species that do not require conservation action at this time. There are also a number of species that require further taxonomic work to determine correct species limits.

The complete results from the workshop are available on Amphibian Ark’s data portal at www.amphibianark.org/assessmentresults.htm.


Conservation needs assessment workshop for Singapore, October 31-November 2, 2011

From October 31st – November 5th, Wildlife Reserves Singapore hosted an Amphibian Conservation Needs Assessment workshop and an Ex Situ Amphibian Conservation workshop, at Singapore Zoo. Around 35 people attended these workshops, which not only reviewed the conservation requirements of Singapore’s amphibians, but also provided guidance and training for staff from the new River Safari park which will include a number of amphibian conservation projects when it opens in 2012. The workshop was funded by the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund.

The first three days of the workshop were devoted to field conservation of amphibians and included the conservation needs assessment, and a number of presentations and hands-on sessions focusing on Singapore’s amphibians and a variety of techniques used in the field during amphibian research trips. The assessment was facilitated by Kevin Johnson from the Amphibian Ark, and participants included staff from Wildlife Reserves Singapore, National Parks Board of Singapore, and the National University of Singapore.  Presentations were given by Dr. Tzi. Ming Leong and Dr. David Bickford from the National University of Singapore, Dr. Nancy Karraker from the University of Hong Kong, Dr. Brad Wilson from Atlanta, USA, Dr. Phil Bishop from the Amphibian Survival Alliance and Ron Gagliardo from Amphibian Ark.

Twenty-eight amphibian species were assessed during the workshop, with one species, Malaysian Horned Frog, Megophrys nasuta, being recommended for an ex situ rescue program. Eight species were recommended for in situ conservation actions, seven species require additional in situ research to be undertaken, two species were recommended for ex situ research, twelve species are suitable for either in situ or ex situ conservation education programs, and one species was recommended for cryopreservation. Fourteen species were considered to be currently safe in the wild, and not in need of any conservation action at this time. The complete results from the workshop can be viewed on Amphibian Ark’s data portal.

The inclusion of a number of presentations and hands-on sessions was a first for an Amphibian Ark assessment workshop, and was very well received by the participants. These sessions provided a great insight into general amphibian biology, an overview of the amphibians of Singapore, specific field techniques such as capture and restraint, weighing, identification and sexing, minimizing the risk of disease transfer, and sampling techniques and protocols. An evening field trip to two sites in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was also included, during which, 14 species of amphibians were sighted.

Amphibian Ark staff would like to thank the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund for their very generous support of this workshop, staff from Wildlife Reserves Singapore for their wonderful hospitality and friendship during the workshop, and all of the participants for their involvement during the workshops. We’re looking forward to seeing some great new amphibian exhibits and conservation programs at the River Safari when it opens next year.

The more detailed conservation action reports can be found on the AArk portal.


Amphibian Conservation Needs Assessment workshop for the Caribbean, March 22-30, 2011

In March 2011, Amphibian AArk staff facilitated two Amphibian Conservation Needs Assessment workshops in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean. The first workshop, which also included the updating of many Red List Assessments, focussed on species from Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. The second workshop assessed the amphibians of Puerto Rico and Cuba, plus a few species from the Lesser Antilles.

During the nine days, sixteen field experts and observers worked with staff from the AArk, IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group and Conservation International, with various sub-groups being formed as necessary to tackle multiple assessments at the same time.

One hundred and seventy-eight amphibian species were assessed for their conservation needs of which, 54 species occur in Haiti, 44 in the Dominican Republic, 24 in Jamaica, 62 in Cuba, 22 species in Puerto Rico and 6 from the Lesser Antilles. The assessment process resulted in the following recommendations: 25 species in need of ex situ Rescue programs; 112 species could still be saved in the wild with in situ conservation action; 41 species require further in situ research to determine more about the species population status and/or the threats they face; 78 species are currently undergoing, or are proposed for specific ex situ research that contributes to the conservation of the species, or a related species; 90 species that are suitable for either in situ or ex situ conservation education programs; and 26 species recommended for cryopreservation. Only twelve species were not recommended for any conservation action.

We are currently identifying additional field experts in the Lesser Antilles and Trinidad & Tobago to help complete the assessments for those islands. Data sheets will be updated as additional assessments are made.

The more detailed conservation action reports can be found on the AArk portal.

During the workshop we reviewed the results of the species assessments for each country and discussed options for following up with various conservation actions identified during the workshop. Volunteers were identified in each country to be the focal point for continued actions, assessment updates, and to encourage amphibian conservation activities for the countries. These volunteers are: Susan Koenig and Iris Holmes for Jamaica; Rafael Joglar for Puerto Rico; Sixto Inchaustegui for the Dominican Republic; Luis Díaz and Ariel Rodríguez for Cuba and Joel Timyan for Haiti.

We also spent several hours on the last day of the workshop discussing ex situ amphibian husbandry issues, with many examples of both simple and sophisticated facilities being shown and discussed. Participants found this particularly helpful, and they gained many good ideas to put into practice at their own facilities.

Workshop participants enjoyed three trips during the workshop: a night walk around Parque Zoológico Nacional (ZooDom); a field trip to a wonderful cloud forest in the 23 km2 protected area Reserva Científica de Ebano Verde; and a night trip to the Santo Domingo Botanical Gardens. Several frog, lizard and snake species were found during these trips, as well as a couple of huge tarantulas. We’d like to extend our thanks to Adrell Núñez from ZooDom and Miguel Landestoy for their hospitality in providing these trips for us, thereby allowing us all to experience a little of the local flora and fauna.

We’d also like to thank the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, which provided the funds to support this workshop.


 

Amphibian Conservation Needs Assessment for Japan, Asa Zoo, Hiroshima, Japan, 20-21 January 2011

In January 2011, Asa Zoo in Hiroshima, was the host for an amphibian conservation needs assessment workshop, covering 62 native Japanese species. Mr. Daimaru, the Asa Zoo Director and Dr. Kazushi Kuwabara welcomed Japanese field experts, amphibian biologists and researchers, representatives from the Ministry of the Environment, AArk staff and observers to the workshop, and the first day began with a presentation on the Amphibian Ark and the assessment process, followed by one and a half days of species assessments.

During the explanation of the assessment process, workshop participants suggested a number of small modifications to the process to better suit some of the amphibian programs in Japan, and to add additional clarity to the definitions of the questions. These suggestions have now been incorporated into the tool, and future workshops will benefit from them.

The assessment of 62 species resulted in the following recommended conservation actions:

  • 1 species recommended for In Situ Research - This is a species that for one or more reasons requires further in situ research to be carried out as part of the conservation action for the species. One or more critical pieces of information is not known at this time.
  • 62 species that will benefit from In Situ Conservation - Species for which mitigation of threats in the wild may still bring about their successful conservation.
  • 34 species suitable for Ex Situ Research - Species undergoing specific applied research that directly contributes to the conservation of the species, or a related species, in the wild (this would include clearly defined ‘model’ or ‘surrogate’ species).
  • 60 species that are suitable for Conservation Education - Species that are specifically selected for management – primarily in zoos and aquariums – to inspire and increase knowledge in visitors, in order to promote positive behavioural change. For example, when a species is used to raise financial or other support for field conservation projects (this would include clearly defined ‘flagship’ or ‘ambassador’ species).

The assessment workshop concluded with presentations from a number of the workshop participants on their amphibian conservation work and some of the leading amphibian breeding and research programs.

On the following day, a public amphibian workshop was held, which began with an update on the results of the assessment workshop from Dr. Kuwabara. This was followed by a presentation on the amphibian crisis by AArk’s Kevin Zippel, and then a tour of Asa Zoo’s Giant Salamander breeding facilities. In the afternoon all the participants were taken on a field tour to visit a Giant Salamander conservation area in the Shijihara River in Hiroshima Prefecture that Asa Zoo staff have been working with for many years. This was a great opportunity for us all to see the type of habitat that these fascinating animals live in, and to hear about the dedication of the people living in the village of Shijihara, Kitahiroshima-cho, Yamagata, Hiroshima Prefecture, who education school children and visitors about the conservation of this iconic threatened species.

We would like to thank Dr Kuwabara and Dr. Kanako Nishimoto for their many hours of organizing this workshop, the staff of the Asa Zoo for their wonderful hospitality, and Dr. Nishimoto and Dr. Yumiko Kato for their translations during the workshop.

Data from the Japanese workshop can be found on the AArk portal.


 

Argentinean Amphibian Conservation Needs Assessment, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 23-25 October, 2010

A well-attended and very successful Amphibian Conservation Needs Assessment workshop was carried out from 23-25 October. It was co-funded by a Durrell Wildlife grant from USA Fish & Wildlife Service (capacity building for cnservation of amphibians in Argentina), Chester Zoo, AArk/EAZA, and the Buenos Aires Zoo who kindly hosted, providing a venue, equipment and copious refreshments.

The workshop was organised under the auspices of the IUCN Amphibian Specialists Group-Argentina, with most of the hard work being done by Marcos Vaira and his students. It was attended by eighteen amphibian biologists, PhD students, zoo professionals and government officials representing all regions of the country, and facilitated by AArk Taxon Officer Richard Gibson (Chester Zoo) and Luis Carillo (Zoofari, Mexico).

Six species were identified for urgent ex situ rescue programs while eighteen were considered recoverable in situ if action was taken swiftly. Forty-one species need significant in situ research in order to determine threat levels, including impact of trade, population status and protected area coverage. The information collected during this workshop can be viewed on the AArk’s data portal, www.amphibianark.org/assessmentresults.htm

Much time was spent discussing the next steps in using the data from the workshop as a basis for a generic amphibian conservation action plan for Argentina and as a guide for species-specific recovery programs.


 

Guatemalan conservation needs assessment workshop, Guatemala City, Guatemala, 4-6 February, 2010

The Amphibian Ark facilitated an amphibian Conservation Needs Assessment workshop for Guatemalan species, from 4th-6th February at the Museum of the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City. Participants at the workshop were Carlos Vasquez, Jonathan Campbell (Guatemalan Regional Chair of the IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group), Ted Papenfuss , Manuel Acevedo, Roderico Anzueto , Liza García, Jacobo Conde, Alejandra Zamora and Gustavo Ruano, and the workshop was facilitated by Kevin Johnson.

During the workshop, 142 Guatemalan species were evaluated by the participants to assess actions that are required to ensure their survival, with species falling into one or more of six different conservation roles:

  • 34 species requiring rescue – Species that are in imminent danger of extinction (locally or globally) and requires ex situ management, as part of an integrated program, to ensure their survival.
  • 42 species requiring in situ conservation – Species for which mitigation of threats in the wild may still bring about their successful conservation.
  • 58 species requiring in situ research – Species that for one or more reasons require further in situ research to be carried out as part of the conservation action for the species. One or more critical pieces of information is not known at this time.
  • 12 species requiring ex situ research – Species undergoing specific applied research that directly contributes to the conservation of the species, or a related species, in the wild (this would include clearly defined ‘model’ or ‘surrogate’ species).
  • 12 species suited to conservation education – Species that are specifically selected for management – primarily in zoos and aquariums – to inspire and increase knowledge in visitors, in order to promote positive behavioral change. For example, when a species is used to raise financial or other support for field conservation projects (this would include clearly defined ‘flagship’ or ‘ambassador’ species).
  • 37 species which do not currently require conservation action.

At the end of the workshop, participants discussed the results, and the next steps that are required. Further in situ research work is currently underway, with a number of universities currently involved in field research. Interest is high in holding an amphibian husbandry workshop in Guatemala over the coming months to increase the in-country capacity to establish successful ex situ conservation programs.

A proposal is currently being drafted to seek support for a small amphibian conservation breeding and display facility, with display facilities for one or two common frog and salamander species, and an off-display area where husbandry skills can be increased, and several species can be established for captive breeding.

Funds for the workshop were generously provided by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Fund, and we are grateful for their support for this workshop.

Data from the Guatemalan workshop can be found on the AArk portal.


 

Amphibian Conservation Needs Assessment workshop, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 2-3 November, 2009

AArk Taxon Officer Richard Gibson facilitated an Amphibian Conservation Needs Assessment workshop in Kandy, Sri Lanka on 2nd and 3rd November 2009. The workshop was organized by regional Amphibian Specialist Group Co-chair Anslem de Silva and was well-attended with twenty-four participants from a variety of backgrounds, many of whom were generously supported by Rohan Pethyiagoda, the Sri Lanka government’s Biodiversity Secretariat and grants from Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust’s International Training Centre.

Two days of intensive discussion and deliberation, expertly assisted by Durrell Wildlife’s Gerardo Garcia and Jamie Copsey, resulted in a comprehensive assessment of the conservation needs for Sri Lanka’s 107 named species of frogs and caecilians and a draft Red List assessment for two newly-described species Philautus singu and Philautus tanu – both provisionally assessed as Endangered on the basis of limited distribution and extent of occurrence. Perhaps the most exciting revelation of the workshop was that at least one species thought to be extinct, Adenomus kandianus, is now thought to have been rediscovered – great news for Sri Lanka and the world amphibian conservationists alike.

Ten species of frog were considered to be so close to extinction that ex situRescue’ programs are justified while more encouragingly, a further twenty-two threatened species could probably be saved in situ with dedicated conservation action. Thirty-three species were identified which would benefit from ex situ research initiatives, reflecting both the relatively recent discovery of much of Sri Lanka’s amphibian diversity and the paucity of ecology and life-history studies. Approximately a quarter of the known species were recognized as having educational potential either nationally or locally and through a variety of means including public exhibition. With a brand new government zoo under development, guidance on educational and research program species couldn’t come at a more appropriate and convenient time.

Data from the Sri Lankan workshop can be found on the AArk portal.


 

Brazilian conservation needs assessment workshop, São Paulo, Brazil, 9-11 August, 2009

Fourteen experts in Brazilian amphibians, representing twelve institutions, gathered for a three-day Brazilian amphibian conservation needs assessment workshop at São Paulo Zoo, Brazil, from August 9-11, 2009. The workshop was facilitated by Richard Gibson and Kevin Johnson from the Amphibian Ark. The aim of the workshop was to identify priority threatened amphibian species and their immediate conservation needs.

During the prioritization workshop, a total of 866 species were listed for review. The participants worked through all Critically Endangered, Endangered Vulnerable and Near Threatened species first (53 species), followed by Data Deficient species (198 species). Due to time constraints it was not possible to completely review all Least Concern species, but 90 Least Concern species were identified as having excellent conservation education potential.

Workshop participants did not review 594 species, but additional local amphibian experts have been identified to assist with reviewing many of these species, and this will be undertaken in the next couple of months.

Based on the data available during the workshop, Brazilian amphibian species were prioritized within the following conservation roles:

  • 14 species in the Rescue role – species that are in imminent danger of extinction (locally) and require ex situ management, as part of an integrated program, to ensure their survival.
  • 24 species in the In Situ Conservation role – species for which mitigation of threats in the wild may still bring about their successful conservation.
  • 204 species in the In Situ Research role – species that for one or more reasons require further in situ research to be carried out as part of the conservation action for the species. One or more critical pieces of information is not known at this time.
  • 19 species in the Ex Situ Research role – species undergoing specific applied research that directly contributes to the conservation of the species, or a related species, in the wild (this would include clearly defined ‘model’ or ‘surrogate’ species).
  • 136 species identified for Conservation Education – species that are specifically selected for management – primarily in zoos and aquariums – to inspire and increase knowledge in visitors, in order to promote positive behavioral change.

These figures will be very likely to change, once additional information has been received from amphibian experts who were not present at the workshop. As this information is received, the data sheet for Brazil will be updated, and the reports will be re-generated.

Data from the Brazilian workshop can be found on the AArk portal.


 

Indonesian conservation planning workshop, Bogor, Indonesia, 27-29 July, 2009

Over 50 people gathered at Taman Safari Indonesia, Cisarua, Bogor on July 27th, 2009 for the start of the amphibian workshop. After a welcome by the President of SEAZA, Mr. Jansen Manansang, presentations were given by Mr. Kevin Johnson from Amphibian Ark, Prof. Djoko Iskander from the Dosen Institut Teknologi Bandun, and Mirza Kusrini from Bogor Agricultural University. These presentations outlined the global amphibian crisis, the formation of the Amphibian Ark, and amphibian issues in Indonesia.

During the prioritization workshop, a total of 381 species were reviewed, with data compiled for 207 species. Workshop participants did not have sufficient information to review the remaining 174 species, but additional local amphibian experts have been identified to assist with reviewing these species.

Based on the data available during the workshop, Indonesian amphibian species were prioritized into the following conservation roles:

  • 182 species that for one or more reasons require further in situ research to be carried out as part of the conservation action for the species. One or more critical pieces of information is not known at this time.
  • 6 species undergoing specific ex situ research that directly contributes to the conservation of the species, or a related species, in the wild (this would include clearly defined ‘model’ or ‘surrogate’ species).
  • 1 species threatened through wild collection (e.g. as a food resource), which could be bred in captivity to replace the demand for wild harvested specimens.
  • 86 species that are specifically selected for conservation education purposes – primarily in zoos and aquariums – to inspire and increase knowledge in visitors, in order to promote positive behavioral change.

These figures will be likely to change slightly, once additional information has been received from amphibian experts who were not present at the workshop.

Data from the Indonesian workshop can be found on the AArk portal.


 

Prioritization workshop for Panamanian species, Panama, November 12-14 2008

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) hosted the three-day Panamanian Amphibian Prioritization Workshop from the 12th-14th of November 2008. The workshop, facilitated by Paul Crump from the Houston Zoo, was well attended with thirteen participants from ten different organizations.

A total of 204 species were evaluated using the prioritization tool developed by Amphibian Ark. The workshop participants worked very efficiently, completing all evaluations after two days. The third day was spent discussing both implementation of the workshop results, and the production of a larger national amphibian conservation action plan.

The participants identified four basic groupings of species based on their conservation need and thus dictates their ex situ “role”.

  1. Species that are likely extinct (ARK– 10%),
  2. Species that are stable now but will be exposed to threatening processes soon (RESCUE – 15%),
  3. Species for which the conservation status is completely unknown (NONE – 32%),
  4. Species that require no conservation action (NONE – 43%).

All the species that fall into the third group were flagged for in situ assessment work.

Data from the Panamanian workshop can be found on the AArk portal.


 

Prioritization workshop for species in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province, Hong Kong, May 22-23 2008

Twenty-two participants representing seven organisations gathered at Ocean Park Hong Kong on May 22nd 2008 for the start of a two-day amphibian workshop. The two main aims of the workshop were to present a series of papers outlining some of the amphibian conservation activities that are currently underway in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province, and to attempt to assess and prioritize all amphibian species from the two areas for potential ex situ conservation programs.

A number of presentations were given during the morning of the first day, and this was a great way for the presenters to share the work they are involved in with the other participants.

The scope of the amphibian species prioritization workshop was all amphibian species in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province. This included 24 species that occur in Hong Kong, with one of these, Philautus romeri, being endemic. The species from Hong Kong included 2 Endangered, 2 Near Threatened, 2 Vulnerable, and 18 Least Concern species. All of these species, except for Philautus romeri also occur in the Guangdong Province. An additional 42 species that occur in the Guangdong province, but not in Hong Kong, were evaluated during the workshop.

Of the 66 species evaluated, three species, Andrias davidianus (Chinese Giant Salamander, 大鯢), Philautus romeri (Romer’s Tree Frog, 香港(羅氏)小樹蛙) and Cynops orphicus (Dayang Newt, 潮汕蠑螈) were ranked considerably higher than the remaining species. A number of research projects are underway in China with Andrias davidianus and considerable experience exists with commercial farming of the species. A captive program already exists for Philautus romeri, with Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Gardens and Ocean Park already involved in captive breeding and release of the species.

Data from the Hong Kong workshop can be found on the AArk portal and a more detailed report of the workshop is also available.


 

Southern African species prioritization workshop, Johannesburg, April 25-28 2008

More than 200 southern African amphibian species were prioritized for conservation action during a two-day AArk-facilitated prioritization workshop hosted by the Johannesburg Zoo.

About twenty amphibian experts from all walks of life – field, university, museum, zoo, NGO, government and students – gathered to consider and answer the various questions needed to identify ex situ roles and priorities among the region’s threatened frogs. AArk Taxon Officer Richard Gibson facilitated the meeting, ably assisted by Jesse Krebs from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo who expertly manipulated the Global Amphibian Assessment (GAA) files for reference by the participants.

Four species were recommended for urgent rescue programs, twenty species for ex situ research initiatives to investigate both biology and husbandry, and fifteen species were identified as suitable for educational purposes. Interestingly, two of the latter educational species are actually seriously threatened but it was considered that a concerted educational effort was likely all that was necessary to improve their status.

The process ran very smoothly, with the support of all present, and resulted in a tidy list of species prioritized for Rescue, Research and Educational purposes. Prioritization of about 35 species from Angola, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe was not completed owing to lack of information and familiarity with them in the wild. Further assistance will be sought to complete these species scores in coming weeks.

Data from the southern African workshop can be found on the AArk portal. Additional information is being gathered for those species which couldn’t be adequately prioritized with the expertise present at the meeting.


 

Malaysian species prioritization workshop, Kuala Lumpur, January 15-18 2008

Zoo Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, hosted an Amphibian Workshop in January 2008. Thirty-nine delegates from eight countries attended the workshop, which was held in the magnificent Palace of the Golden Horses hotel. The first day of the workshop began with an opening ceremony, with a number of distinguished guests, and was followed by an afternoon of presentations from some of the delegates, in a regular conference format. This was a great way for each of the participants to learn more about the work their colleagues have been involved in, and for the delegates to outline their particular interests and the projects they and their institutions are involved in.

Two separate simultaneous workshops were then run over the following two days, one focusing on amphibian species prioritization, and the other focusing on the ex situ management of amphibians. Participants in the species prioritization workshop used the Amphibian Ark species selection and prioritization tool to evaluate 211 species which occur in Malaysia. Sixty-two of these are endemic species. Seven additional taxa (Ansonia latifi, Ansonia latirostra, Ansonia endauensis, Ansonia sukumarani, Ingerophrynus gollumi, Rana monjerai and Theloderma licin) were added to the species from the Global Amphibian Assessment’s list of Malaysian taxa.

Unfortunately the participants at the workshop did not have enough information regarding forty-six of the species, and these were only partly evaluated. Other Malaysian amphibian experts were identified, and these people have been asked if they would be willing to assist in completing the evaluation of these forty-six species. The participants collectively came up with common analogue species for the ten highest ranking species, and suggested that the ex situ community in Malaysia uses these analogues to gain husbandry and reproductive experience, before working with the more endangered species.

Data from the Malaysian workshop can be found on the AArk portal and a summary report of the workshop is also available.


 

Venezuelan species prioritization workshop, Rancho Grande, 17th-18th November, 2007

A species prioritization workshop for Venezuelan amphibian species was held in Rancho Grande, 17th-18th November 2007. Twenty-five participants attended the workshop, and they were mainly researchers and experts from different parts of the country and some zoo representatives.

The prioritization workshop was facilitated by Luis Carrillo (CBSG Mexico) and Diana Sarmiento (ALPZA) and it was organized by AVZA (Venezuelan Zoo and Aquarium Association) and ALPZA.

Venezuela occupies the 8th position on country amphibian diversity with 293 species. Nevertheless, 26% of their species are threatened mainly by habitat destruction. To date there is one species recognized as extinct (Atelopus vogli).

The workshop begun with the explanation of the methodology and goals seek by AArk. Sixty-nine species were evaluated, but unfortunately twenty-five of them were incomplete evaluated due to lack of information for the participants.

The top ten prioritized species for Venezuela are the following:

Atelopus pinangoi   Atelopus oxyrhynchus
Atelopus sorianoi   Colostethus leopardalis
Mannophryne collaris   Mannophryne cordilleriana
Atelopus carbonerensis   Mannophryne neblina
Atelopus mucubajensis   Nephelobated alboguttatus

The data from the Venezuelan workshop can be found on the AArk portal.


 

Colombian species prioritization workshop, Bogotá, 11th-12th November, 2007

The workshop for prioritization of Colombian amphibian species was successfully organized and facilitated by Luis Carrillo from CBSG Mexico and Diana Sarmiento from ALPZA. Fifteen people attended the two day workshop in Bogotá where we had representatives from Colombian zoos, amphibian experts and researchers from universities and NGOs.

The workshop was organized by ALPZA and ACOPAZOA (Colombian Zoo and Aquarium Association).

The workshop began with representative introductions followed by presentations on workshop methodology and AArk’s spreadsheet for species selection and prioritization. Participants with the help of the workshop’s facilitator began evaluating all the CR, EN and VU amphibian species. A total of 209 species were evaluated. Unfortunately the participants didn’t have the knowledge to evaluate 130 species, mainly due to lack of search in some areas (due to guerrilla risk) meaning that there are some information gaps, but participants agreed to contact other amphibian specialist that couldn’t attend the workshop to have some of this species evaluated too.

An important part of the workshop was dedicated to gathering new information on the species evaluated. Information focused on presence of chytrid, new populations discovered and so on.

The top ten prioritized species for Colombia are:

Phyllobates terribilis   Atelopus longibrachius
Atelopus famelicus   Bolitoglossa pandi
Atelopus farci   Atelopus eusebianus
Atelopus monohernandezi   Atelopus minutulus
Cryptobatrachus nicefori   Atelopus subornatu

At the end of the workshop ECOFONDO (Mariela Osorno) showed preliminary results of the project in Magdalena River and Amazonas working together with the communities to develop local awareness and interest for amphibians and water conservation. ECOFONDO is leading a campaign for keeping water as a public resource.

Data from the Colombian workshop can be found on the AArk portal.


 

Costa Rican species prioritization workshop, San Jose, 31st October – 3rd November, 2007

AArk Taxon Officer Kevin Johnson facilitated a three-day prioritization workshop in Costa Rica, hosted by Fundacion Pro Zoologicos and Simon Bolivar Zoo in San Jose. There were approximately twenty participants at the workshop, including Federico Bolaños from the Universidad de Costa Rica and a number of his students, zoo staff, CBSG Mesoamérica staff, and experts from the private sector.

The participants worked through the prioritization of 188 species, and attempted to answer the questions for many taxa in the third section (Program Implementation) of the prioritization tool.

Data from the Costa Rican workshop can be found on the AArk portal.


 

Species prioritization workshop for North American and Puerto Rico, Fort Worth, TX, USA, 30-31st July and 1st August, 2007

Twenty people, including two Amphibian Ark facilitators and key amphibian experts from institutions in Canada, USA and Mexico gathered at Fort Worth Zoo, Texas, in August 2007 to work through prioritization of species in North America and Puerto Rico.

Due to time constraints, not all species were attempted, but the group prioritized 86 species. Of these 10 were from Puerto Rico, 5 occur in Canada, and the remainder are from the US and Mexico.

Of the high scoring species, half were in the Eleutherodactylus genus, from Puerto Rico.

Data from the North American and Puerto Rican prioritization workshop can be found on the AArk portal.

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