December 22, 2014 Katie Schuler

On the Ninth Day of Christmas…

For our 9th Day of Christmas, we’ve collaborated with the very talented Dr. Carlos Martinez Rivera, an Amphibian Conservation Specialist over at the Philadelphia Zoological Gardens, to bring you a new text-alert for your phone. Why does it take a production company and a amphibian specialist to make a text sound? Well it’s actually a pretty cool story.

This text-alert is the call of the Black Cajas Harlequin Toad, taken from a recording Dr. Rivera made in Ecuador a few years ago. When researchers first found these toads in the high grasslands of Cajas National Park, there were plenty. But just a few years later, the Harlequin Toad was gone. Locals explained that they hadn’t seen the toads in a long time, and researchers thought the Harlequin Toad was extinct.

Black Cajas harlequin toad_Atelopus nanay
The elusive Black Harlequin Toad

Luckily, in 2008, a few individuals were discovered and placed in a captive breeding colony. Cajas National Forest, the local Zoo Amau and the Philadelphia Zoo joined forces to save the Black Cajas Harlequin Toad as well as 15 other critically endangered amphibians.

So the next time you get a text in the middle of a conversation, you’ll have a pretty great story to tell. And if you want to learn a bit more, drop by this website (though you may need to use Google translate), or check out Conservacion de Anfibios on Facebook.

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