A new poisonous frog was recently discovered in a remote mountainous region in Colombia by a team of young scientists supported by the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP). The new frog, which is almost two centimetres in length, was given the name the 'golden frog of Supata.'
Originally, the young scientists thought the frog was similar to several other common species in the area. However, after scientific analysis of the frog's characteristics, and review of their findings by experts at Conservation International, it was determined that the golden frog of Supata is unique and only found within a 20 hectare area in Colombia's Cundinamarca region. Colombia is one of the world's richest countries in amphibian diversity, with more than 583 species. Unfortunately, since this frog is a recent discovery, and endemic to only the Cunidnamarca region, little is known about it. So far, scientists say that the golden frog of Supata belongs to a group of 'dart frogs' that are known to be highly venomous. In the coming months, the young scientists hope to have more information about the frog.
'The importance of this project is not just the discovery of the new frog,' said Oswaldo Cortes, team leader and one of the winners of the 2007 Conservation Leadership Programme awards. 'But, most importantly, what this new discovery shows is how little we still know about our planet, and the many species that haven't yet been discovered. This is why it is so important to work with local communities and educate them about the need for conservation.'
In addition to Oswaldo Cortes, the team of scientist includes Erika Salazar, Giovanni Chaves, Jose Gil, and Ximena Villagran, students, who attend La Universidad Distrital, and Francisco Jose de Caldas and Luiz Alberto Rueda of the University of the Andes (La Universidad de los Andes).
The CLP, formerly known as the BP Conservation Programme, supports the vital work of a new rising generation of conservation professionals who are helping to drive practical projects addressing a wide range of global environmental issues from protecting sharks in Brazil to conservation of threatened amphibians in Colombia and endangered turtles in Cambodia to the assessment and conservation of threatened bird species in China.