Toxic Frog Protected by Drug Wars

A spectacular poison dart frog on the edge of extinction in the wild has been afforded temporary protection by warring drug gangs in Colombia’s Chocó region, reports ProAves.

The La Brea Poison Frog (Oophaga occultator), a colorful species only documented by scientists in 1975, has suffered from unsustainable collection for the pet trade, severe deforestation for coca cultivation, and aerial spraying for coca eradication, resulting in a substantial population decline. But the species has clung to life in a deforested landscape along the Saija River in Colombian Pacific coast in part due to conflict between three armed groups—the FARC, the ELN and Los Rastrojos, a paramilitary group. The fighting has kept collectors out of the area, protecting the frog.

The species, which is known for its singing as well as its stunning coloration, was recently photographed by members of ProAves. The frog hasn’t been sighted in the wild by researchers in nearly 20 years.

Read full story, watch video: Mongabay

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