Frog-leap for joy: Philippines’ critically endangered frog species successfully bred for first time

Images: Project Palaka / Norman Greenhawk (Facebook)
Images: Project Palaka / Norman Greenhawk (Facebook)

Some ribbit-ing news on animal conservation: a critically endangered frog species in the Philippines was just successfully bred in captivity for the first time, a conservation project announced.

Project Palaka (Project Frog), which focuses on reptile and amphibian conservation efforts, said yesterday that it had succeeded in breeding and maintaining Platymantis insulatus, also known as the Gigantes Limestone Frog — the only amphibians classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The Platymantis insulatus is a frog species endemic to the Gigantes Island north of Panay, which is part of the municipality of Carles in Iloilo.

“This has been a year of challenges for the project, but we were still able to stay on task and succeed in one of our main objectives- begin breeding this ‘Treasure of the Gigantes,’ for the purposes of boosting wild populations,” the group wrote on its Facebook page.

Project Palaka explained that, unlike many frog species, the Platymantis insulatus are direct developers and do not have a free-swimming tadpole stage. Instead, this species’ female frogs lay their eggs on land while the embryos develop and hatch into froglets. 

Project Palaka has helped breed 21 froglets that began hatching on October 17. The group also has more gravid frogs, or female frogs that are ready to lay their eggs.

The group added that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has been made aware of the conservation project at every level, including the Biodiversity Management Bureau, as well as its city, provincial, and regional environmental officers.

The project was led by Norman Greenhawk, a partner of the University of the Philippines Los Baños Natural Museum, a Fulbright specialist, and a recipient of the National Geographic Explorer Award. Greenhawk thanked its international conservation partners and individual donors for their help.

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