Kottigehar Dancing Frog
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- Dancing frogs are the most threatened amphibian genus of India- Findings of Global Amphibian Assessment Report by the Wildlife Trust of India.
- Micrixalus kottigeharensis (commonly known as Kottigehar Dancing Frog or Kottigehar torrent frog) is a species of frog in the family Micrixalidae.
- It is endemic to the Western Ghats in Karnataka,
- Male Micrixalus kottigeharensis grow to a snout–vent length of 22–24 mm (0.87–0.94 in) and females to 28–33 mm (1.1–1.3 in).
The Act of Foot Flagging
- The dancing frogs that are found near the streams do a unique display to mate.
- The males stretch up their hind legs one at a time and wave their webbed toes in the air in a rapid motion akin to a dance.
- This is to attract mates as well as ward off competition, probably preferred because their mating calls are drowned out by the gurgling of the streams. This act is called “foot flagging” and gives the species their name.
- The preferred habitat of Micrixalus kottigeharensis is fast-flowing streams in primary and secondary forests.
- The species are found to prefer habitats in areas with thick canopy cover of at least 70-80 percent.
- It is threatened by habitat loss.
- It is also threatened by invasive species like the mosquito fish, land use change, variation in temperature and humidity, extreme weather events such as floods and excess rainfall, infectious diseases, water pollution, light pollution, and infrastructure projects such as dams.
- Of the 24 species of frogs belonging to the Micrixalus genus that were assessed, two were found to be critically endangered and 15 were endangered.
- This makes them the most threatened of all Indo-Malayan genera.
- It is also the fifth most threatened genus in the world with 92 percent of its species in the threatened category.
Status of Frogs: WTI Report Findings
- Frogs are valuable in the food chain and also provide other ecological services.
- Protecting the natural habitats and preserving their optimal living conditions is thus vital to save the last of these species.
- But globally, their numbers are declining.
- More than 41% of the amphibian species are threatened with extinction, the latest assessment showed.
- In India, 139 of the total 426 species were categorized as ‘Critically Endangered’, ‘Endangered’ or ‘Vulnerable’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.
- As many as 64 species of amphibians found in the Western Ghats are on the list of endangered species.
Other Threatened Species
- After the dancing frogs, the Nyctibatrachidae (Night Frogs) are the most threatened with 83.9 percent of its species threatened across the southern states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- Wildlife Trust of India’s Amphibian Recovery Project in the Munnar Landscape of Kerala is actively working to recover the population of threatened amphibians.
- They are doing this by addressing the challenges that cause the risk of extinction, threat mitigation through strategically planned conservation action, capacity development and training, advocacy and information sharing implemented by a stakeholder network.
The Global Amphibian Assessment
- The Global Amphibian Assessment (GAA) is a recurring initiative that comprehensively assesses all known amphibian species for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN Red List).
- It relies on the invaluable contributions of hundreds of dedicated herpetologists from over 100 countries.
- Through the second Global Amphibian Assessment (GAA2), more than a decade of research on amphibians by over 1,000 experts has been compiled to assess the extinction risk of 8,011 species worldwide.
- The GAA2 follows on from the first GAA, completed in 2004, which illuminated the unfolding amphibian extinction crisis and established a baseline for monitoring trends and measuring conservation impact.
- Now, the GAA2 reveals that the conservation status of the world’s amphibians continues to deteriorate.
The GAA stands as a shining example of international collaboration and a shared commitment to understanding the conservation status of species.
Findings of GAA2
41% of amphibians are globally threatened with extinction, making them the most threatened vertebrate group.
- Salamanders are particularly at risk, with 3 out of every 5 species threatened with extinction.
- The number of amphibian extinctions could be as high as 222 when considering the 37 confirmed extinctions and an additional 185 species with no known surviving population.
Habitat loss remains the most common threat to amphibians, affecting 93% of threatened species.
- Agricultural expansion continues to be the main cause of habitat loss and degradation, followed by timber and plant harvesting, and infrastructure development. Amphibians are also threatened by disease in many parts of the world.
- Over the past few decades, chytridiomycosis has had a devastating impact on amphibian populations, and the emergence of a new fungal pathogen in Europe that targets salamanders has raised fears of another epizootic.
READ ABOUT Chytridiomycosis
- The effects of climate change are emerging as a concerning threat as amphibians are particularly sensitive to changes in their environment.
Amphibian species are not evenly distributed across the globe.
- They are predominantly clustered in tropical montane humid forests as well as on tropical islands.
- Islands with high endemism and extensive habitat loss, such as those in the Caribbean, dominate the list of 15 countries or territories with an extraordinarily high percentage of threatened species.
- The Neotropics, home to almost half of the world’s amphibians, is also the most highly threatened realm, with 48% of species at risk of extinction.
- Other large concentrations of threatened amphibians are found in western Cameroon and eastern Nigeria, the Eastern Arc
Mountains of Tanzania, Madagascar, the Western Ghats of India, Sri Lanka, and central and southern China.
Conservation needs to be massively scaled up
- Since 1980, the extinction risk of 63 species has been reduced due to conservation interventions, proving that conservation works.
- We must build on this momentum and significantly scale up investment in amphibian conservation if we are to stop and reverse declines.
- Drawing on the results of the GAA2, this report provides guidance for conservation by identifying landscapes with disproportionately high numbers of threatened species.
- It also highlights the need to protect globally important sites for amphibians, and the urgent necessity to better understand and find solutions to the problems that disease and climate change present.
- It is imperative that we now use this information to effectively conserve and restore the world’s amphibians.
- What is needed now is a global movement to catalyze the recovery of the world’s amphibians.
- Need of the hour: A concerted and cohesive action by government agencies, donors, academia, and nongovernmental organizations to improve the status of threatened amphibians, drawing upon the recommendations of this report and the knowledge detailed in the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan.
Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates (vertebrates have backbones) that don’t have scales. They live part of their lives in water and part on land.
They are made up of frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and caecilians (wormlike animals with poorly developed eyes). All amphibians spend part of their lives in water and part on land, which is how they earned their name—“amphibian” comes from a Greek word meaning “double life.” These animals are born with gills, and while some outgrow them as they transform into adults, others retain them for their entire lives.
Amphibians are the most threatened class of animals in nature. They are extremely susceptible to environmental threats because of their porous eggs and semipermeable skin. Every major threat, from climate change to pollution to disease, affects amphibians and has put them at serious risk.
Amphibians are Ectothermic
An ectotherm more commonly referred to as a "cold-blooded animal", is an animal in which internal physiological sources of heat are of relatively small or of quite negligible importance in controlling body temperature.
Such organisms (for example frogs) rely on environmental heat sources which permit them to operate at very economical metabolic rates.
Amphibians are Anamniotic
The amniotes are an informal group of craniates comprising all fishes and amphibians, which lay their eggs in aquatic environments. They are distinguished from the amniotes (reptiles, birds and mammals), which can reproduce on dry land either by laying shelled eggs or by carrying fertilized eggs within the female.
Amphibians exhibit Metamorphosis
Metamorphosis in amphibians is a process on which the amphibians undergo abrupt physical changes in order for them to survive the transition of living in water to living on land.
The animal body undergoes rapid and dramatic changes during amphibian (anuran) metamorphosis to adapt from the aquatic to the terrestrial life. The larva-specific organs such as the tail and the gill degenerate, while the adult-specific organs such as the forelimbs develop.
Most amphibians breathe through lungs and their skin. Their skin has to stay wet in order for them to absorb oxygen so they secrete mucous to keep their skin moist (If they get too dry, they cannot breathe and will die).
Wildlife Trust of India
- The Wildlife Trust of India(WTI) is an Indian nature conservation organization.
Commitment and Mission
- It is committed to urgent action that works towards the protection of India's wildlife. Its mission is to conserve nature, especially endangered species and threatened habitats, in partnership with communities and governments.
- WTI was formed in November 1998 in New Delhi, India, as a response to the rapidly deteriorating condition of wildlife in India.
- WTI is a registered charity in India (under Section 12A of the Income Tax Act, 1961).
- It is mandated by its Board of Trustees to ensure that 85 % of all specified donor monies go to the field for direct conservation action.
- The core team includes scientists, field biologists, conservation managers, veterinarians, lawyers, finance, business management and communication specialists, who operate diverse conservation projects across India.
- In 20 years, WTI has grown to be one of India's premier wildlife NGOs.
- WTI currently focuses its resources on six priority landscapes – northeast India, western Himalayas, terai, southern Ghats system, central India and terrestrial ecosystems. One of its projects is to protect the Sarus crane.
Jointly run centres
- The Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation is a wildlife care facility that is run by the Wildlife Trust of India and Assam Forest Department, with financial support from the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
- The Udanti Tiger Reserve in Gariaband district, Chhattisgarh, is run by the Wildlife Trust of India and the Chhattisgarh forest department.
- World Land Trust (WLT) became partners with WTI in 2003, after a site visit to assess the feasibility of funding wildlife corridors in India.
- The first funds secured the protection of the Siju-Rewak Corridor, in the Garo Hills of Meghalaya State in India’s northeast.
- The WLT-WTI partnership has expanded to support India’s wetlands and mangroves, two habitats known for their biodiversity and the important role they play in combatting climate change.
Projects and Activities
WTI focuses on nine key areas in their work:
- Conflict mitigation: Demonstrating innovative and replicable large-scale models of human-wildlife conflict mitigation
- Enforcement and law: Tackling wildlife crime by reducing poaching and the illegal wildlife trade through PELT (Policy, Enforcement, Law and Training)
- Natural heritage campaigns: Creating positive and measurable change in people’s perceptions to improve the conservation and welfare of wildlife in India
- Protected area recovery: Improving the existing functionality of protected areas
- Right of passage: Securing key wildlife corridors for umbrella species like Asian Elephant
- Species recovery: Supporting the recovery of populations or subpopulations of threatened species and demonstrating recovery through improved recovery scores
- Wild Aid: Providing fast-acting and focused response at times of emergencies, such as tsunamis or train collisions with elephants
- Wildlands: Securing critical habitats outside of the traditional protected area system, especially habitat linkages, wetlands, grasslands, community reserves, Important Bird Areas and sacred groves
- Wild rescue: Supporting the welfare of displaced animals and pioneering science-based rehabilitation for various species
World Land Trust
The World Land Trust is a UK-registered charity. It raises money to buy and then protect environmentally-threatened land in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. The trust was founded in 1989 as the Programme for Belize to raise money to privately buy land in Belize to protect tropical rain forests.
Q. Consider the following statements:
1. Kottigehar Dancing Frog is endemic to the Western Ghats in Karnataka.
2. The species are found to prefer habitats in areas with thick canopy cover of at least 70-80 percent.
3. 92 percent of its species are in the threatened category.
Which of the above statements is/are incorrect?
A) 1 and 3 only
B) 2 only
C) 3 only
Answer: D) None