Friday, 11 May 2012

Conservation victory for one of world's deadliest animals

New reserve created to protect Golden poison frog
May 2012. Conservationists are celebrating the establishment of a new nature reserve in Colombia that provides the first sanctuary for the endangered golden poison frog, an animal that also has the distinction of being possibly the world's deadliest animal. Its poison is so toxic that even coming in contact with a paper towel that has touched the frog has been fatal to animals. Although they are only two inches long, it is estimated that each golden poison frog has enough toxin to kill ten adult people within minutes.




                                                      Golden poison frog, ProAves proaves.org 
In one of the wettest tropical rainforests in the world, along the Pacific coast of western Colombia, World Land Trust, American Bird Conservancy, and Global Wildlife Conservation have helped purchase 124 acres of threatened Chocó forest, creating the Rana Terribilis Amphibian Reserve named for the Spanish word for frog - rana - and the frog's Latin name Phyllobates terribilis. The reserve is owned and managed by Fundación ProAves, Colombia's leading conservation organization. This is the second amphibian reserve owned by ProAves in Colombia - the first is the Ranita Dorada Reserve.
Death within minutes
This frog is named because of its bright orange skin that is covered by a secretion of deadly alkaloid poison (batrachotoxins). The toxin prevents nerves from transmitting impulses, leaving muscles in a constant state of contraction - leading to heart failure. Death comes within minutes.
The species has long been recognized by indigenous cultures for its lethal poison and is strongly embedded within cultural traditions. The Chocó Emberá Indians use the frog's toxin as poison in their darts used to hunt food; by gently brushing the tips of arrows and darts on the frogs back, without harming it, the weapons can keep their deadly effect for over two years.

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