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Rare ‘cave squeaker’ frog seen in Zimbabwe for first time in 55 years


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Rare ‘cave squeaker’ frog seen in Zimbabwe for first time in 55 years

Team of researchers discover three of the frogs once listed as possibly extinct in first reported sighting since 1962

A rare frog that had not been seen in decades has been found in Zimbabwe, researchers have said.

The Arthroleptis troglodytes, also known as the “cave squeaker” because of its preferred habitat, was discovered in 1962, but there were no reported sightings since then. An international red list of threatened species tagged the frog as critically endangered and possibly extinct.

Robert Hopkins, a researcher at the natural history museum in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, said his team found four specimens of the frog in its known habitat of Chimanimani, a mountainous area in the east.

The team found the first male specimen on 3 December after following an animal call that they had not heard before, Hopkins said. They then discovered another two males and a female. Hopkins said he been looking for the cave squeaker for eight years.

“I was not with my team when they were found. I was at the base. I can no longer climb the mountains as I am 75,” Hopkins said.

Researchers plan to breed more of the frogs and then reintroduce them to the mountain summit. The frog is tiny and light-brown with dark spots.

Authorities fear for the frogs’ security, especially from “the scientific world” whose huge interest could result in the frogs being captured and illegally exported. Hopkins said 16 specimens are on display at various museums, including the British Museum.

“We are expecting an influx of scientists looking for it. We will do everything in our power to protect and conserve the frog,” said Caroline Washaya-Moyo, spokeswoman for the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. She said a park management plan will be devised to protect the cave squeaker.

Source: The Guardian


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