Atelopus nanay

The black Cajas harlequin toad


The black Cajas harlequin toad, Atelopus nanay, is one of those species that was thought to be extinct.

In fact, the name ‘nanay’ comes from the ancient Kichwa language still in active use in the high elevation mountains of the Ecuadorian Andes. It is an expression of sadness or pain. The name was given in reference to the fact that researchers could no longer find the newly discovered toad when they went to visit the site for a second time, before describing it officially for science.

Luckily, staff from Zoo Amaru in Ecuador rediscovered it not long ago, and this species has since been the star of the Amphibian Conservation Center – Zoo Amaru. Philadelphia Zoo has actively collaborated with Zoo Amaru since 2009, and together, we have been able to bring this most exceptional harlequin toad from the brink of extinction through captive breeding in its native country of Ecuador.