|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Date||30 Mar 2017|
Since rediscovering the population, we have studied population parameters and assessed threats that can lead to the population’s decline. We found individuals infected with the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which causes a disease that has wiped out many amphibian populations worldwide. We have also identified habitat degradation, which is a landscape level threat and affects the Cotón river micro-basin (main Harlequin frog habitat). This river is the main source of water for 24 neighbour communities. Therefore, conserving this habitat brings benefits to both the Harlequin frog and the local people.
Although the scenario seems bad, there are conservation opportunities for the species and its habitat in the long-term. The main opportunity is involving the community in our conservation program, because the community-managed aqueduct takes and processes the water in the main Harlequin frog habitat.
We decided to undertake this work because we rediscovered the population and think it is important to not only report the population tendency but also take actions to prevent its extinction.
We want to know more about the current population status and the effect of threat factors to implement management actions involving the community. This way we will mitigate or eliminate threats and avoid the extinction of the species. Together with the community and the aqueduct board we want to create a precedent of a successful participative conservation program, with a positive impact on conservation, since we will produce a guide-line that can be used for other amphibian conservation issues.
For example, we are in the process of designing a plan to make the Harlequin frog a flagship species of the aqueduct and involve and empower the community to help with the conservation of this species and its habitat. Local people are proud to belong to Central America’s most important community-managed aqueduct and they have shown interest in the amphibian biodiversity that their river harbours.
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