A team of conservationists and government officials in Chile went on to a rescue mission to save a critically endangered frog species in the nick of time.

Last month, 14 of the Loa water frog, a species that can only be found in Chile, were saved by a group of specialists and researchers. The experts said the rescued amphibians might just be the last of the entire species, and they were rescued right before their habitat had dried up.

Chilean officials discovered that the frogs’ habitat outside the city of Calama, located in the middle of  the Atacama desert, had now dried up largely due to mining, water extraction for mining purposes, agriculture, and real estate development.

Photo by Gabriel Lobos

The last 14 frogs were brought to the National Zoo of Chile to start a conservation breeding program.

“We request that consideration be given to the development of an emergency plan for the protection and recovery of Loa frog habitat,” said John Paul Rodriguez, chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission. “For this reason, we call for the establishment of a technical working group to assist the work in this matter.”

At least 63 known species of water frogs found from Ecuador to Chile. Many of the species are microendemic, which meant they live in just one small place.

They are threatened with habitat destruction, pollution, disease, and invasive trout, which is why a number of international wildlife organizations, including Amphibian Ark, Amphibian Survival Alliance and Global Wildlife Conservation, are now calling on the government of Chile to continue the protection of restoration of the frogs’ habitat in the wild.

Related stories:
– Hundreds of people attend wedding of two frogs in India
– One of the tiniest frogs discovered
– Cane toads released in a Quezon City barangay to fight dengue, but it likely creates new problem