They watched the dinosaurs come and go. But now their population is shrinking dramatically all over the world. Amphibian species are vanishing off the face of the earth. A trend imposing the threat of the sixth mass extinction.
The story of the Golden Toad.
Its plight is representative of the threat facing an entire class of animals. Their species had a very small range of less than 10 square kilometres only to inhabit in the extremely damp and cool cloud forest in the mountains of Costa Rica. The animals spent most of the year hidden away underground. They only emerged at the beginning of the rainy season, coming together to mate by small pools of water, where the females would deposit clutches of 200-400 eggs.
The whole story can be experienced in the Frogs & Friends Interactive Trip
"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark"
The case of the golden toad was an eye-opener - at least for scientists throughout the world. About 165 amphibian species have become extinct in the past hundred years, while another 250 have gone missing. And the same fate is in store for many others.
The golden toad was a relatively slender toad, measuring about 5 cm. There was a pronounced difference between the genders. The females weren’t just around a centimetre longer and bulkier than the males, their colour difference was so pronounced that it’s hard to believe they even belonged to the same species.
The species presumably became extinct in 1989.
The gastric-brooding frog of Australia - a painful loss of evolutionary excellence.
Its reproductive biology was spectacular: the gastric-brooding frog just swallowed its tadpoles. Even though its habitat in the mountains of Northeastern Australia seems to be completely undisturbed, it has evidently become extinct. The last specimen was spotted in 1985. Now there are plans to clone it back into existence.
The silenced cousin. Searching for the Northern Darwin’s frog.
It hasn't been seen for decades. The Northern Darwin's frog, Rhinderma rufum, is likely to have fallen to victim to the chytrid fungus. Nevertheless, hope dies last, and the search goes on.
This video is part of the video-series about international amphibian projects featured on Frogs & Friends
Still alive - fabulous Darwin's frog
With its long pointy nose, Chiles Darwin’s frog is one of the world’s most attractive amphibians. But habitat loss and disease are driving it to extinction.
Its reproduction strategy is just as remarkable as it was for the "not still alive" Gastric-brooding frog of Australia. And, there are video recordings of the spectacular "birth" of Darwin's frog - right out of its fathers mouth... To be watched at Frogs & Friends: Darwin's frog
In the land of Darwin's frog
A German-Chilean breeding and research program hopes to save the frog for future generations.
Frogs - look for them, find them, turn them over: A day in the life of a frog researcher. What to learn is more than just the state of the frog population. The frogs help measure the health of the whole forest.
Barking up the wrong tree - a global killer of biodiversity
The timber industry is a key component of Chile’s economy and a major threat for its native species.
If one is searching for reasons, why frogs have such a hard time in Chile, a glimpse at the Chilean timber industry contributes to finding the answer.
Frogs are in decline on a global scale. Habitat loss, diseases, climate change, poaching and hunting or invasive species, there are a number of causes for this. But there’s always one common denominator: humans.
Prof. Andrew A. Cunningham, Ph.D.
Zoological Society of London
Simon Nicolas Stuart, Ph.D.
Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission
Exhibition by Frogs & Friends
Exhibition curators: Björn Encke & Annette Kinitz
Illustratory content origin: Interactive trip by Frogs & Friends
Creative Direction: Lena Thiele (Miiqo Studios)
Art Direction: Sebastian Baurmann (Miiqo Studios)
Illustration and Animation: Jonas Lieberknecht
Text and scientific consulting: Heiko Werning
With the support of the Interactive Media Foundation gGmbh (IMF)