| San Lucas Marsupial Frog © Jocotoco
| Volcan Antisana dominates the landscape © Wikimedia
| Andean Condors nest in the Antisanilla Reserve © Eric Mariglia
June 24, 2014
A four-day amphibian survey in Ecuador’s new Antisanilla Reserve has resulted in a new register of the San Lucas Marsupial Frog (Gastrotheca pseustes).
Found at elevations of 6,500 feet and above, the San Lucas Marsupial Frog is restricted to Ecuador’s páramo grassland environment. Its population has been reduced during preceding decades due to a combination of factors that include climate change, pesticide use, habitat loss and the introduction of non-native species.
Antisanilla and the neighboring Antisana Ecological Reserve likely play an important role in the survival of other threatened amphibians as well. Future studies will determine the presence of these species, which, among others, may include the endangered Antisana Pulp Toad (Osornophryne antisana), an endemic species found only among páramo soils, and Espada’s Rocket Frog (Hyloxalus pulchellus), which is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN. Antisana is recognized as an Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) site based on the occurrence of its endangered amphibians.
Rainforest Trust plans to support additional monitoring surveys of Antisanilla’s threatened amphibians in the months that come.
To protect critical amphibian habitat, the organization will provide financial resources to construct fences around wetlands and ensure that these areas remain free of grazing cattle. It will also assist in the design and implementation of a reserve management plan to aid in the survival of endangered species in the newly protected area.
The 6,100- acre Antisanilla Reserve was created earlier this year with support from Rainforest Trust, the Amphibian Survival Alliance, the Andrew Sabin Foundation and others working in collaboration with Ecuadorian partner Fundación Jocotoco.
The four-day study was conducted with the support of Nigel Simpson.