With Marcela Sepulveda Tirado of Santiago’s National Zoo, I traveled to Concepción, Chile andvisited the ex situ facility for Darwin’s Frogs (Rhinoderma darwinii) in September 2009 to find Carlos Barrientos Donoso and his advisor Professor Juan Carlos Ortiz carefully watching over 11 Darwin’s frogs and receiving advice from Dr. Klaus Busse of the Bonn Museum in Germany. This ex situ breeding project, a joint effort of the Universidad de Concepción and Leipzig Zoo is focused on preserving this amazing frog within it’s range country. The frogs appeared to be doing very well under their care and we observed courtship activities that very day. Later in the year, I was informed that the frogs had bred and there were males holding developing froglets in their vocal sacs. Frank Oberwemmer, Conservation Officer for Leipzig Zoo informed me recently that beginning on Christmas eve, December 24, 2009 and ending December 31, 2009, 13 tiny Darwin’s Frogs were born! They are now (February 21) up to 17 mm long and doing quite well! This represents the first captive breeding of this uniquely Chilean species in range country! Congratulations are definitely in order! I am certain that Marcela and team in Santiago will be next to breed this unique amphibian and soon will have tiny Darwin’s frogs to look after in their facility! (Actually, the range of Rhinoderma does slip into Argentina too!) Thanks to Frank for the heads up!
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