Back to the Basics


Atelopus nanay
The black Cajas stubfoot toad (Atelopus nanay) was thought to be extinct. However, small populations are found in the wild and a stable population is at ACC-Zoo Amaru.
Agalychnis spurrelli
Ecuador is home to over 560 species of amphibians, second only to Brazil. Unfortunately, more than 200 are under threat of extinction.
The Philadelphia Zoo’s Amphibian Conservation Program began in 2009. Through our collaboration with the local Zoo Amaru in Ecuador, we established the Amphibian Conservation Center-Mazán Forest the city of Cuenca, Ecuador. Fast-forward seven years and here we are in Ecuador to start reaping the fruits of our project. Today, the Amphibian Conservation Center is located inside Zoo Amaru y Bioparque de Cuenca, and is the prime ex situ conservation program in the south part of Ecuador. This year, with help from the Amphibian Ark, the team is spearheading the first National Cooperative Workshop for the Ex Situ Conservation of Threatened Ecuadorian Amphibians. This workshop will take place from February 24 to February 26 in Quito Ecuador and will be the first time that the seven amphibian conservation groups in Ecuador will get together to form a unified strategy to help save the more than 200 threatened amphibians in the country.

Being part of this team is an honor for Philadelphia Zoo and a milestone for our program, since part of the agenda includes creating the action plan for the reintroduction of the black Cajas stubfoot toad and the conservation plan for the Azuay stubfoot toad, two of the species that we work with at ACC-Zoo Amaru and that have been saved from extinction in part due to the work of Mr. Fausto Siavichay, the amphibian keeper responsible for breeding these two species at the facility.

Join me, Dr. Carlos Martinez Rivera, the Zoo’s Amphibian Conservation Biologist, and MSc. Kim Lengel, the Zoo’s VP for Conservation and Education as we help secure a future for some of the worlds most endangered animals, and continue to work together with the local in-country biologists that make our species saving program possible.

Gastrotheca pseustes
The San Lucas marsupial frog is an endangered amphibian being saved from extinction by Zoo Amaru and us in Ecuador.
Glass frog
Glass frogs appear fragile and delicate. They are with many species at risk of disappearing forever.