If you are celebrating Cinco de Mayo and care about Mexican wildlife, you need to read this. About $17,000 is all that prevents the Large-crested Toad of Mexico (Bufo cristatus, also recently reclassified as Ollotis cristata) from being saved. The species is hanging on by a thread — it is critically endangered — but there is a plan to save it at the Africam Safari Zoo in Puebla, Mexico. About $50,000 was needed for the facility and staff to harvest the species and start a breeding program to get it back to a population that one day can be returned to the wild. The good news is that the people behind “The Amphibian Project” have raised all but $17,000 of the goal amount. The Amphibian Project works in cooperation with Amphibian Ark.

There can be a happy ending for the Cinco de Mayo toad if an angel philanthropist writes a big check or if hundreds of you write smaller ones. Here’s how to donate:

Donate here.

Here’s more background from The Amphibian Project:

The Amphibian Project is working to save one of the world’s most endangered amphibians – the Large-crested Toad – from extinction.  Working in collaboration with teachers, students, and communities, we are actually saving this species from extinction through a few simple actions.   

The Amphibian Project is a collaboration between five conservation professionals brought together by the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program working to save one threatened species of frog from extinction. The Amphibian Project Team is supporting Amphibian Ark to raise funds for and awareness of the global amphibian extinction crisis. 

All funds raised through this project will support the development of a captive breeding program for the Large-crested Toad (Bufo cristatus) at the Africam Safari zoo in Puebla, Mexico. Mexico is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world and has particularly high amphibian diversity.  It supports one of the highest numbers of endemic and threatened amphibians, many of which are  found nowhere else in the world. The Large-crested Toad (recently reclassified as Ollotis cristata), a critically endangered species found only in Mexico, inhabits pine-oak cloud forest habitats.  Due to rampant conversion of forest habitat to agriculture, the toad has disappeared from most of its original range and now survives in only two localities. In fact, until recently, it was feared extinct. But the folks at Africam found tadpoles and metamorphs! The chytrid fungus is a looming threat to the Large-crested Toad as related toad species have proven susceptible to infection and chytrid is likely responsible for the extinction of other amphibians in Mexico.  Should chytrid infect the remaining wild populations, this species could be lost forever.

Africam Safari is bringing new hope to the Large-crested Toad.  With your help, they will design and carry out a comprehensive campaign to save the toad.  Your funds will help build a biosecure facility to house and breed the toads until they can be safely released back into their natural habitat.  To determine the scope and impact of chytrid in wild amphibian populations, the zoo will closely coordinate monitoring efforts with experts at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. While caring for the toads in captivity, Africam Safari has partnered with Naturalia, a non-profit organization, to restore degraded lands to suitable habitat for the toad.  The zoo will additionally provide local communities with a number of economic alternatives to deforestation to help prevent further toad habitat loss.  These habitats will provide a home for wild toads as well as for future releases of captively reared toads.  Africam Safari will accompany these activities with an extensive amphibian education program at the zoo to raise awareness about the amphibian crisis and the Large-crested Toad in particular. The animals in captivity will provide much-needed information on this species’ biology, an essential educational tool for local communities, and most importantly – a source of healthy toads for future reintroductions into the wild.

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