Last Frog Of His Kind Dies Alone

By Stephen Messenger

The world is short one more species this week — and, sadly, others like it may be soon to follow.

WIKIPEDIAOn Wednesday, the Atlanta Zoo announced that a 12-year-old frog named Toughie, the last known Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog left in existence, had been found dead in the enclosure where he lived by himself.

Toughie was one of several frogs airlifted from his home in Central America in 2005, the year his kind was first discovered in the cloud forests of Panama. Biologists had hoped, by breeding them in captivity, to save their species from adeadly fungus-borne disease affecting amphibians after it was detected in the region.

Just two years later, Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frogs could no longer be found in the wild.

ATLANTA ZOODespite the best efforts, those breeding programs aimed at preserving frogs proved fruitless. By 2009, the last female Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog died in captivity, followed by another male in 2012. From that point forward, Toughie was all that was left.

Now, he is gone, too.

The loss of Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frogs is just the latest in what is considered an ongoing mass extinction of amphibians. In recent decades, more than a hundred amphibian species have been wiped out, with another 6,285 being at risk of extinction.

While the causes of this die-off are not fully understood, researchers believe human activity is in part to blame — through habitat destruction, pollution andenvironmental changes brought on by global warming.

Click here to learn more about issues impacting the world’s amphibians, and to find out how to help.


13 thoughts on “Last Frog Of His Kind Dies Alone

  1. ..
    my heart bleeds..
    truly sad..
    and frightening..
    ignorant humans do not deserve “nice” things..
    like this planet..
    and ALL its inhabitants..
    EACH and EVERY one is IMPORTANT! ♥
    Not just arrogant humans! ☻

  2. So sad. Now Toughie joins Martha, the last passenger pigeon, who died in 1914. At least we know their names and can mourn for them and their absence. How many more are gone, unknown and never missed . . .

  3. This is why more efforts should be made to preserve the wild places and the animals who live there, in the wild. Zoos are of questionable benefit, and very limited in what they can achieve; they obviously spend more money on the big sensation attraction to attract visitors. How much money can be spent on amphibians? We are the only species that can understand our own demise and how we contribute to ours and the rest of life on earth, and yet continue breeding ourselves and destroying anyway, and consider ourselves ‘more important’ than anything else.

    It is so frustrating to read comments by people who don’t seem to know any better that animals in zoos are being saved from extinction and are better off than in the wild, and that zoos are helping protect wildlife. They cite that they are protected from predators and get regular meals (just like in prison). They didn’t in this case, that’s for sure. Instead of maintaining a relic concept from Victorian times, we ought to spend more time and money on protecting animals in the wild.

    • Or that should read ‘They weren’t better off in this case, that’s for sure’. The frog still may be in the wild, it’s not unheard of. We arrogant know-it-alls sometimes are wrong, and animals thought extinct still exist, such as the ivory-billed woodpecker.

      They key to their safety is when they are off our radar. It’s too bad the protection of wildlife can’t be in the hands of real scientists instead of zoos masquerading as conservationists, and brain-washing people into thinking they are helping. There is no excuse for this. I shudder to think what it is going to be like on earth in 2050, with an estimated 11 billion! People who put their heads in the sand with any kind of optimism about the future of life on this planet (other than the all-important Homo stultus) are not being realistic.

  4. I wonder why more isn’t being done to fix the terrible ‘mistakes’ we’ve made. To call human steamrolling over everything on the planet a ‘mistake’, as some do, is just so jaw-droppingly inadequate. What about science, DNA and selective breeding, etc. to bring back the most recent extinct species like the passenger pigeon and others going forward? We are the most selfish creatures on the planet. Most people are more interested in what the celebri-trash are doing than conservation, and it is sad beyond words that they rule the world.

  5. Well for anyone interested, great minds are trying to restore the passenger pigeon. Yay! The media, when they aren’t obsessing about Donald Trump’s hands, equate it with bringing back the wooly mammoth too. I think only creatures directly tied to human ignorance and greed ought to be brought back, such as the passenger pigeon and those going forward. Incidentally, Martha, the last passenger pigeon, died at the Cincinnati Zoo *eyeroll*. Her closest living relative is the Western band-tailed pigeons – that’s if they can survive Sen. Inholfe and his band of dumbasses holding pigeon shoots! Talk about deplorables.

    • I would love it if they could bring back the passenger pigeon and the ones we drove to extinction. Of course, some yahoos would probably want to start a breeding program for hunting. I don’t have much faith in our species.

    • idaursine,
      I’m so glad you brought up Sen. Inholfe! See the live pigeon shoots at gun club in Pa. on S.H.A.R.K web-site (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness). There is an on-line petition to stop this barbaric slaughter. We need people to sign and get the word out!

  6. I will never forget going to a 7th grade science fair and one of the exhibits had a refrigerator box with a sign on it that said “In here is the cruelest animal on the planet” and the box had a small peep hole so that people could view the inside. When you looked inside you saw a mirror. Isn’t that the truth!

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