In order to focus conservation efforts on the most threatened species of amphibians, conservation entities around the world now use the threat categories and criteria developed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN keeps a global “Red List” of threatened species, based on these categories. It is important to periodically update the threat levels assigned to species whose populations have recently crashed due to habitat loss and introduced diseases, and it is also important to assign threat categories to the many new species described in the last few years.
To accomplish this task, 16 experts on Ecuadorian amphibians have gathered together today at Cabanas San Isidro. Over the next few days they will assign or update IUCN threat categories for 200 Ecuadorian amphibians. The experts are mostly from Ecuador, of course, but also include scientists from Colombia, Argentina, and Costa Rica. Our own reserve manager and herpetologist, Juan Pablo Reyes, is there to work on Andean species, including many that he discovered in and around our reserves. When the smoke clears and all these species have been assigned threat categories, I will post the categories assigned to our own species, and discuss actions we can take to protect other species newly identified as critically endangered.