Renewing hope: the rediscovery of Atelopus varius in Costa Rica

In: Amphibia-Reptilia
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  • 1 The Sierra to Sea Institute & ProCAT International/Colombia, De Intel 100 m Oeste, Hda. Belén 8, La Ribera de Belén, Heredia, Costa Rica
  • | 2 Center for Resolving Human-Wildlife Conflicts, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, USA
  • | 3 Arizona State University. MC 2352, PO Box 37100 Phoenix, AZ, 85069-7100, USA
  • | 4 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Circuito Exterior s/n, Ciudad Universitaria Coyoacan, C.P. 04510 México D.F., México
  • | 5 Finca Las Altura del Bosque Verde, Las Alturas, Coto Brus, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

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More than 90% of harlequin frog species (Atelopus spp.), endemic to the Americas, are currently threatened with extinction. We report the discovery of the only currently known breeding population of the Critically Endangered A. varius in Costa Rica. This population was located in 2008 on a private property in Las Tablas Protected Zone near San Vito, Coto Brus at 1300 m elevation. Previously, the only known remaining/remnant population of this species and genus was a single location near Manuel Antonio, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, where two individuals were documented in 2004. Subsequent searches at this location have yielded no additional sightings. Delineating the spatial limits of this population, quantifying demographics and resource use, and implementing conservation actions are necessary to ensure persistence of this population. Conducting additional surveys in this region to ascertain occurrence of additional populations is warranted.

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