The Kihansi Spray Toad, Nectophrynoides asperginis, is listed as ‘Extinct in the Wild’ on the IUCN Redlist of Threatened SpeciesTM. It was only known from one locality: in the spray zone of the Kihansi Falls in the Kihansi Gorge, of the Udzungwa Mountains, of eastern Tanzania. Currently, an experimental reintroduction is being undertaken in the wild and the species breeds in captivity in the Toledo Zoo, the Bronx Zoo and at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
The construction of a dam on the Kihansi River is the most likely cause of the Kihansi Spray Toad’s extinction. The dam cut off 90% of the water flow to the gorge, so an artificial sprinkler system was built to restore the spray zone wetlands. However, failures of this sprinkler system in 2003 combined with an outbreak of chytridiomycosis in the toads, or possibly other factors, were enough to cause serious decline and extinction.
Successful captive breeding at the Toledo Zoo in Toledo Ohio, the Bronx Zoo in New York City and at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania lead to the reintroduction of 2,500 individuals in Tanzania in 2012. In the past, captive populations have fluctuated due to some infections and nutritional deficiencies, but those problems have since been addressed. Only with effective monitoring of the reintroduced animals will we be able to determine the ultimate success of the reintroduction of the species back to Kihansi Falls. A variety of factors, including the status of the habitat, the effectiveness and reliability of the sprinkler system, presence of diseases, and reproductive rate of the toads, and others, will determine long-term success.
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How to become an Amazing Amphibians partner:
Outlined below are the roles and responsibilities for the 4 different levels of involvement for potential partners. If your organization would like to be a part of the Amazing Amphibians program in either of these capacities please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Partner – These partners will help with multiple aspects of the program, help facilitate the completion of several species profiles, publicize each Amazing Amphibian and will likely have a landing page for the program on their website. This level of partner will be leading in using their communication channels to gather additional information for the program such as images and data points for iNaturalist.
Strategic Partner – These partners will play an active role in creating species profiles, submitting at least three species profiles per year and actively use their social network to publicize each Amazing Amphibian. This level of partner will be active in using their communication channels to gather additional information for the program such as images and data points for iNaturalist.
Focal Partner – Partners tend to be active in a limited geographic area. This partner will submit at least one regional species profile per year and use their social network to publicize each Amazing Amphibian. This level of partner will be involved in using their communication channels to gather additional information at a regional level for the program such as images and data points for iNaturalist.
Affiliate – These partners are interested in promoting the program but might not be in a position to provide profiles. These partners will publicize each Amazing Amphibian through the social media outlets.
The Kihansi Spray Toad, Nectophrynoides asperginis, is listed as ‘Extinct in the Wild’ on the IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species