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Rescue missions underway to save Haiti's species from mass extinctions
Date:11/16/2010

extinctions, and I think they are in progress." Robin Moore, Amphibian Conservation Officer for Conservation International, agrees. He joined Hedges and Martinez on the latest rescue mission. He points out, optimistically, that "despite the massive deforestation, the fact that the frogs are still hanging on, though barely, means that it is not too late to protect their habitat." The scientists emphasize that the loss of forests is also a catastrophe for the Haitian people because forests are their major source of energy and they are critical for their economy, agriculture, and drinking water.

Hedges, who has studied the genomes of diverse species worldwide in his laboratory research, is focusing his efforts in Haiti on preserving the cells and genomes of the endangered species there. Besides rescuing ten frog species for captive breeding at the Philadelphia Zoo, he has cryobanked frogs and other species in his lab. One of the rescued frog species is the smallest one known on the island -- a species whose adults are the size of a small human fingernail.

"A captive-breeding program is a huge responsibility. You have to feed the animals, breed them, and keep them going for years and years, possibly indefinitely," said Carlos Martinez, Amphibian Conservation Biologist for the Philadelphia Zoo, who accompanied Hedges on the recent frog rescue mission. "But the survival of these species may depend on this work, so it is well worth the effort." Hedges was impressed with the zoo's willingness to take on this challenge. "I am absolutely delighted that the Philadelphia Zoo generously agreed to accept all 10 species, and I consider it a huge success that so many critically endangered frog species are being captive bred and cryobanked."

Ideally, a population should have at least 30 males and females to begin successful captive breeding, but some of these 10 species at the Philadelphia Zoo have fewer individuals. Hedges explains, "we were up on the to
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Contact: Barbara Kennedy
science@psu.edu
814-863-4682
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3 4 5

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