Central valley, Costa Rica

One of eleven currently recognised leaf frog species, the lemur leaf frog is Critically Endangered having disappeared from half its historic range.

Previously found across a large portion of Costa Rica, the lemur leaf frog (Agalychnis lemur) is now only known to occur in three locations within the country. The range extends across through Panama and into Colombia where declines are also being seen. The preferred habitat is pre-montane forest between 400 and 1600m elevation. The extent to which different threats are impacting the amphibians of the Central Valley is unknown. It is likely that humancaused habitat modification in combination with invasive plant species and the chytrid fungal disease are all contributing to declines in this and other species. Estimates suggest an 80% decline in numbers of the lemur leaf frog over the last ten years.

Having successfully bred the lemur leaf frog at Bristol Zoo we have been part of initiatives such as Project Lemur Leaf Frog. This has involved habitat management and considering reintroductions from captive populations. The uncertainty of the occupied range is now hampering conservation efforts and needs immediate action. As such, the main aim of our project is to understand the current range
of the lemur leaf frog within Costa Rica and the threats facing these remaining populations. During this process, we can also collect information on other threatened species in the region.

Five year objectives:

  • As of 2017 Bristol Zoological Society holds the stud-book for lemur leaf frogs with a breeding population for potential re-introductions based in Bristol Zoo Gardens AmphiPod
  • Conduct surveys to determine how much of the species’ historic range in Costa Rica is currently occupied and the size of the remaining population
  • Threat analysis to determine primary causes of decline and extirpation from habitat
  • Prioritisation of conservation action based on results of surveys and threat analysis
  • Expansion of local involvement, and development of stakeholder investment and awareness of conservation issues facing the lemur leaf frog, including engagement with local communities and the ecotourism industry

Click here to download our Lemur Leaf Frog Conservation Strategy (pdf)

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Our Lemur Leaf Frog project is kindly supported by Shaldon Wildlife Trust and Green Frog Connect.

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