Robert Slattery is a writer living in Western North Carolina. He enjoys music and all sorts of other things.
Environment – Alone, in the Atlanta zoo, sits the last known Rabbe’s fringe-limbed tree frog.
The frog, which is native to Panama was discovered in 2005. It has not been seen in the wild since 2007, though it’s call was heard once at the end of that same year.
In 2006, the population of frogs was largely wiped out by a pathogen known as Bd, which has killed off “more than 100″ amphibian species worldwide in only the past few years.
The frog had been kept with another male frog, which was euthanized recently after suffering a “marked decline in health and behavior.” Zoo staff considered letting the animal die naturally, but their decision to euthanize the animal came with the hope of better understanding.
To this, the herpetology curator Joseph Mendelson said, “Had the frog passed away overnight when no staff members were present, we would have lost any opportunity to preserve precious genetic material. To lose that chance would have made this extinction an even greater tragedy in terms of conservation, education and biology.”
Zoo Atlanta created a PSA about amphibian extinction which features the frog.
Read more at Scientific American.