Researchers have recently stumbled across a particular species of elusive frog in the wild for the first time in well over five decades. The finding was reportedly made on December 3rd of last year, and information about it is just now getting out to the world.
Image Credit: AP/Francois Becker
The fabled cave squeaker frog was discovered back in 1962 and was once thought to be critically endangered, or possibly even extinct, as it had not been seen in the wild since. That is, until a research team stumbled upon four of them in Chimanimani, a region just East of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe of South Africa.
According to the team, these light brown and dark spotted frogs were discovered shortly after the team heard a call coming from the wilderness that they’d never heard before. The four specimens they found were reportedly half female and half male.
Because the region where they were discovered is mountainous, Robert Hopkins the lead researcher of the team, was not present when the species were rediscovered due to the difficulties of navigating mountains at his age.
"I was not with my team when they were found. I was at the base. I can no longer climb the mountains as I am 75," he said in a statement.
Nevertheless, the team brought sample specimens of the fogs back to the base, where there are plans to attempt to breed them and increase their wild population.
Because it’s now known that the species still exists in the wild, there is fear that some will go searching for it and cause harm to its well-being. Experts are calling for its protection and to raise awareness to prevent the creature from going extinct and local law agencies are already on the case:
"We are expecting an influx of scientists looking for it. We will do everything in our power to protect and conserve the frog," said Caroline Washaya-Moyo, a spokeswoman for the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.
For wildlife lovers and scientists alike, the rediscovery of a creature thought to have went extinct is nothing short of a miracle, but there's still a lot of work to be done if the species is to be saved.