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Smithsonian Scientists Release Limosa Frogs With Mini Radio Transmitter into Wilderness in Panama

By Menahem, Zen menahem.zen@gmail.com | Jun 02, 2017 03:32 PM EDT

All of the ninety Limosa frogs which were released into the Panamanian wilderness were bred in captivity. This action is the first trial to study the transition of frogs from living under human care into living in its natural habitat.

Limosa frogs, also known as Limosa harlequin frogs or Atelopus limosus, is an endangered species. The Smithsonian scientists have successfully bred the frogs in captivity, as reported by the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. The project manager of this conservation program is the biologist in Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), Brian Gratwicke.

The release of ninety endangered Limosa frogs into the wilderness is to determine whether the frogs, breed in captivity, are able to survive the transition and continue to live in their habitat. This will also determine whether the frogs will be able to go back to its habitat and breed.

“Only by understanding the trials and tribulations of a frog’s transition from human care to the wild will we have the information we need to someday develop and implement successful reintroduction programs,” Gratwicke said about the first release trial of Limosa frogs into the wild. "This release trial will give us the knowledge we need to tip the balance in favor of the frogs.”

Smithsonian has also established a specific research for preserving the biological diversity in Panama by its Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution (STRI) in Panama. The STRI was established in 1923, with an office in Barro Colorado Island, which now has become the world leading research institution for biodiversity. STRI studied Limosa frogs and many other tropical species in Africa, Asia, and America.

Limosa frogs reside in the river banks in central Panama and the species is threatened to extinct due to a disease called chytridiomycosis and habitat loss. Up to now, 75 percent of the Limosa frogs has disappeared. 

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