The Venezuelan Andean Reptile and Amphibian Conservation Center (VARAC Center) in Venezuela is managing a captive conservation program for six species of endangered Venezuelan frogs (Mannophryne cordilleriana, M. collaris, M. speeri, Atelopus sp. (undescribed), Leptodactylus sp. (undescribed) and Aromobates leopardalis). This program will breed these Andean endemic and endangered species for future reintroduction to the wild.
The project began with the captive breeding of Whistling Frogs, Leptodactylus “meridensis”, an undescribed species endemic to the terrace where the city of Mérida is located. Urban development has wiped out most of the original vegetation cover, causing the disappearances of most of its original populations. A mating pair laid eggs in a foamy nest, from which 170 larvae where recovered and raised at the conservation center facilities.
This conservation program also involves habitat protection awareness among local people, research in the wild and in captivity, and a long-term monitoring study of the focus species. The project is being entirely carried out within the Chorros de Milla’s Park Zoo, in the city of Merida, with facilities expressly suit for this conservation activity. This facility is the first captive conservation initiative involving endangered amphibian and reptile species occurring in this Andean region.
Donations to this project will help with establishing new terraria including filters, lights, food and water pumps, field equipment, and will help provide training for additional amphibian keepers.