Sad News: Last Known Living Member of Rare Tree Frog Species in Captivity Died in Georgia

Oct 03, 2016 04:21 AM EDT

It has been a sad week for the workers at the Atlanta Botanical Garden as the last known living member of a rare tree frog species in captivity died despite their best efforts to save the it.

The frog, which they named "Toughie," is a Rabbs' fringe-limbed tree frog. The corpse of the frog was found during a routine daily health inspection. Officials at the botanical garden believe that Toughie is about 12 years old when it died.

The Rabbs' fringe-limbed tree frog was first identified by by Zoo Atlanta herpetology curator Joseph Mendelson in 2005 and was later named in honor of conservationists George and Mary Rabb.

Toughie, along with other species of frogs, was brought to Atlanta in 2005. A team from the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Zoo Atlanta and Southern Illinois University were dispatched in Panama to collect live samples of different animals before the chytrid disease struck the area.

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"Science had a very short window to learn about the species in the wild before this disease struck the only known locality for the frog and the species vanished," said Mary Pat Matheson, President and CEO of Atlanta Botanical Garden, in a report from The Atlantic Journal-Constitution.

The Atlanta Botanical Garden purchased and outfitted a climate-controlled facility known as Frog Pod in 2008. Designed to house different amphibians, Toughie and other rare amphibians were transferred to the Frog Pod. Toughie spent the last eight years of its 11-plus year span in the Frog Pod.

According to the report from The Tico Times, about one-third to one-half of amphibian species worldwide is threatened with extinction. The alarming rate of amphibian extinction can be attributed to human activities leading to the loss of their habitat. Furthermore, diseases such as chytridiomycosis, which is caused by an aquatic fungal pathogen, continue to terrorize some of the amphibian species.

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