Stunning toxic frog protected as a result of drug trafficking conflict

mongabay.com
September 29, 2010



A spectacular poison dart frog on the edge of extinction in the wild has been afforded temporary protection by warring drug gangs in Colombia's Chocó region, reports ProAves.

The La Brea Poison Frog (Oophaga occultator), a colorful species only documented by scientists in 1975, has suffered from unsustainable collection for the pet trade, severe deforestation for coca cultivation, and aerial spraying for coca eradication, resulting in a substantial population decline. But the species has clung to life in a deforested landscape along the Saija River in Colombian Pacific coast in part due to conflict between three armed groups—the FARC, the ELN and Los Rastrojos, a paramilitary group. The fighting has kept collectors out of the area, protecting the frog.


La Brea Poison Frog (Oophaga occultator). Image from ProAves
The species, which is known for its singing as well as its stunning coloration, was recently photographed by members of ProAves. The frog hasn't been sighted in the wild by researchers in nearly 20 years.

But while confirmation of the survival of the species is welcome news, the indigenous people who live in the region may be faring worse, according to ProAves. Some 600 Emberá, displaced by the conflict, are living in a camped communal house in Timbiquí.

ProAves says a new threat to the Emberá and the frog may come from illegal gold miners moving up the Saija River.








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Stunning toxic frog protected as a result of drug trafficking conflict .

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