Scaling Up a Successful Conservation Program: Saving the Critically Endangered Atelopus varius in Costa Rica

Diego Alejandro Gómez Hoyos

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30 Mar 2017

An Integral Conservation Program for the Critically Endangered Atelopus varius in La Amistad Biosphere Reserve, Costa Rica

I´m Conservation (a.k.a Soy Conservación) and LAPECOM UCR represent the Atelopus Survival Initiative (ASI) and lead the conservation of harlequin frogs in Costa Rica. Our goal in this project is to prevent extinction of the harlequin frog in the region, through a comprehensive conservation program for the species and its habitat based on scientific knowledge and involvement of the community to achieve sustainability in the long term. We know that our conservation work on the harlequin frog at the local level has been successful. Now, this project will allow us to carry out a conservation effort throughout the distribution of the species and achieve our goal, with a focus on the landscape and working with local stakeholders, including local communities. We have the good news that there are at least 5 other populations of the harlequin frog in the country.

Amplectant pair of Harlequin Frog in Talamanca. © Diego Gomez.

Amplectant pair of Harlequin Frog in Talamanca. © Diego Gomez.

Our project will allow us to identify the stakeholders in the area of influence of each population and contact local conservation stakeholders to formulate a concerted roadmap. These plans will include training in diagnosis and monitoring of the conservation status of each population, identification of threats, identification of conservation opportunities with a local community-based approach and the integration of a conservation strategy at the country level to save the harlequin frog from extinction. Finally, we will create a platform to exchange experiences in order to integrate local conservation efforts, to achieve conservation impacts for the species at the regional level by working in synergy. This experience will be a model to apply to other species of Atelopus and even threatened amphibians in the region. Also, our project responds to the objectives, activities and needs outlined in the Harlequin Toad (Atelopus) Conservation Action Plan (2021-2041) which we built during the founding of ASI.

Header: Harlequin frog female in Talamanca. © Diego Gomez.

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