Amphibian Ark Taxon Officers help to coordinate all aspects of implementation within the AArk initiative, including helping AArk partners in identifying priority taxa for in situ (in the field) and ex situ (in captivity) conservation work. The first part of this process involves assessing amphibian species to identify priority species and their immediate conservation needs. 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. A complete description of our assessment process is available in English and in Spanish.
Between 2007 and 2014 AArk staff and our partners held 26 national or regional Conservation Needs Assessment workshops, and in early 2015 the process was migrated to an online program. All completed species assessments can be viewed in the online program, and the resulting recommended conservation actions for each species can be viewed in detail in the National Recommended Conservation Actions report. Recommendations can be viewed by country and/or by type of conservation action.
Definitions of AArk conservation roles
- Ark – Species that are extinct in the wild (locally or globally) and which would become completely extinct without ex situ management.
- Rescue – Species that are in imminent danger of extinction (locally or globally) and need ex situ management, as part of an integrated program, to ensure its survival.
- In Situ Conservation – Species for which mitigation of threats in the wild may still bring about their successful conservation.
- In Situ Research – Species that for one or more reasons need 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 – Species undergoing 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).
- Supplementation – Species for which ex situ management benefits the wild population through breeding for release as part of the recommended conservation action.
- Mass Production in Captivity – Species threatened through wild collection (e.g. as a food resource), which could be or is currently being bred in captivity – normally in-country, ex situ – to replace a demand for specimens collected from the wild. This category generally excludes the captive-breeding of pet and hobbyist species, except in exceptional circumstances where coordinated, managed breeding programs can demonstrably reduce wild collection of a threatened species.
- Conservation Education – Species that are specifically selected for management – primarily in zoos and aquariums – to inspire and increase knowledge in visitors, 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).
- Biobanking – Species for which the long-term storage of sperm or cells to perpetuate their genetic variation is urgently recommended, due to the serious threat of extinction of the species.
- None – Species that do not need any conservation action at this time. This list may also contain species that were not evaluated during the workshop due to lack of data being available.