Fundación ProAves staff at the reserve and Magdalena University researchers found the two rediscovered frog species while conducting research funded by the Darwin Initiative and the National Environmental Action Fund (FPAA).
"This rediscovery is a momentous leap of hope for saving species across the Andes," said Alonso Quevedo, the Fundación ProAves president and an active herpetologist. "The extinction crisis is wiping out so many important environmental indicator species, such as Atelopus frogs, before our very eyes, so this is a real boost for conservation efforts."
The Alliance for Zero Extinction (www.zeroextinction.org) issued a report in December 2005 that pinpointed 595 sites around the world containing the last significant habitat for one or more endangered species of mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and plant. It listed the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta site as one of the most crucial to protect.
In late December, Fundación ProAves learned of the impending sale of plots from the site for construction of vacation homes. It alerted the Alliance for Zero Extinction, and in less than a month, ABC and CI had secured the funding necessary for Fundación ProAves to buy the entire site that now comprises the El Dorado Nature Reserve. Additional support for the reserve purchase was provided by more than a dozen donors, including the Jeniam Foundation, and Lynn and Stuart White. "These rediscoveries are particularly important as they represent species of frogs that are very sensitive to the disease and which were thought to possibly be extinct," said Paul Salaman of ABC. "Their rediscovery shows that there is hope to find healthy populations and protect them."
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the highest coastal mountain range