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Chile's largest amphibian in danger of extinction

IANS 21 Aug 2014, 12:10:54 PM IST
Santiago: The helmeted water toad, the largest amphibian found in the Chile, is in serious danger of extinction due to habitat loss and environmental factors.

"The Chilean map of species extinction" provides graphic proof of the bleak situation of this frog which are found over an area stretching from Coquimbo, 500 km north of Santiago.

One of the problems affecting this species, which grows upto 20 cm (7.9 inches) and weighs one kilo as an adult, is that its habitat overlaps with that of Chile's most populated regions.

According to researchers, the frog's large size and the succulent taste of its meat make it especially vulnerable to human consumption.

Even though the helmeted water toad, also known as the Chilean giant frog, was recently added to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora's Appendix III, it continues to be consumed "due to demand in the hotel and catering" sector, the researchers said.

The problem arises because culinary demand escalates between Sept to Mar, coinciding with the species' reproductive period when it is most vulnerable, thus posing an existential threat to the amphibian.