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Building a new amphibian conservation lab at the National Zoo of Chile

Our team was able to implement a new lab at the National Zoo of Chile in Santiago.  We made the lab from PMODS or “built on site” shipping containers.  Here is a photo documentary on the new labs going in…

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Trucks delivered the pods in the morning.

An entire crew unloaded the PMODS from the truck

An entire crew unloaded the PMODS from the truck

Forklifts were used to carry the PMODS up the narrow pathways of the zoo

Forklifts were used to carry the PMODS up the narrow pathways of the zoo

Steel platforms had been built for the pods to sit on

Steel platforms had been built for the pods to sit on

Fork lifts were used to nudge the PMODS onto their platforms.

Fork lifts were used to nudge the PMODS onto their platforms.

The base of the units were welded to the platforms

The base of the units were welded to the platforms

The roof of the PMOD is then lifted by fork lifts.

The roof of the PMOD is then lifted by fork lifts.

Corner supports are set in place.

Corner supports are set in place.

Walls are put up

Walls are put up

Starting to look like a lab!!

Starting to look like a lab!!

Electrical was installed inside.

Electrical was installed inside.

Lots of outlets for things like pumps, filters, lights...

Lots of outlets for things like pumps, filters, lights…

Holes were drilled for plumbing.

Holes were drilled for plumbing.

We avoided the use of anything that could rust and used plastics whenever we could.

We avoided the use of anything that could rust and used plastics whenever we could.

Installing an RO system for good water quality.

Installing an RO system for good water quality.

Part of the water filtration unit.

Part of the water filtration unit.

Aquariums were delivered.

Aquariums were delivered.

Shelves were assembled.

Shelves were assembled.

AC unit installation.

AC unit installation.

A work bench.

A work bench.

Storage cabinet.

Storage cabinet.

Aquariums placed onto stands.

Aquariums placed onto stands.

First room of the finished lab.

First room of the finished lab.

Second room of the finished lab

Second room of the finished lab

We have a new amphibian conservation lab at the National Zoo of Chile in Santiago!!  Thanks you to all of our many sponsors!!!!

We have a new amphibian conservation lab at the National Zoo of Chile in Santiago!! Thanks you to all of our many sponsors!!!!

admin in Uncategorized on February 22 2013 » 0 comments

A Critically Endangered Species Faces Tough Times

Our field work in 2011 took us to one of the last remaining haunts for Bullock’s False Toad (Telmatobufo bullocki).  This species has suffered from habitat loss and now is found in only a handful of localities.  It is also a difficult species to find.  Many hours can be spent looking through a forest patch to produce just one or two specimens.  We are establishing an assurance colony of this species at the National Zoo of Chile in Santiago.  The species is listed as the 5th most endangered amphibian on the planet by the UK’s “EDGE” program.

 

Here are some images from our field work with this amazing and critically endangered frog…

Dr. Fenolio holds up two Bullock’s False Toads (Telmatobufo bullocki) in the field.

This large female Bullock’s False Toad holds the promise of captive reproduction for the species and a step toward successfully establishing an assurance colony.

Bullock’s False Toad (Telmatobufo bullocki) has a great face!

A male Bullock’s False Toad (Telmatobufo bullocki).

 

admin in Uncategorized on April 26 2012 » 4 comments

Catching Up With an Old Friend

 

Our field work in 2011 brought us back to a favorite areas of Chile…the region where the Chile Mountains False Toad lives.  We are developing captive assurance colonies of this species at the National Zoo of Chile in Santiago.  We have also been monitoring a population in south-central Chile for emergent infectious amphibian disease.  In addition, our research group just published a paper on this species:

 

Fenolio, D.B., A. Charrier, M.G. Levy, M.O. Fabry, M.S. Tirado, M.L. Crump., W.W. Lamar, & P.

Calderón. 2011. A review of the Chile Mountains False Toad, Telmatobufo venustus (Amphibia:

Anura: Calyptocephalellidae) with comments on its conservation status. Herpetological Review

42(4): 514–519.

 

Here are some images from our field work with these amazing and critically endangered frogs…

Chile Mountains False Toads like to live near rapidly flowing mountain streams.

The tadpole of the Chile Mountains False Toad (Telmatobufo vesutus) is stream adapted. Tadpoles have a suctorial disc around their mouths, helping them hold onto the rocks in the quickly flowing rapids where they live and helping them to scrape food from the substrate.

A close up of the specialized mouth of the tadpole of the Chile Mountains False Toad.

A Chile Mountains False Toad (Telmatobufo vensutus)         in-situ.

Chile Mountains False Toads are among the most colorful of Chile’s amphibians.

An adult female Chile Mountains False Toad          (Telmatobufo vensutus).

 

 

admin in Uncategorized on February 06 2012 » 0 comments

More Frogs at the Zoo

Late in 2011 our field team assembled again and went out to collect frogs for our assurance colonies at the National Zoo of Chile in Santiago. Here are a few shots from that process…

Dante and Marcela hold up a bag of frogs from one of their collecting sites. It is nice to get freshly captured frogs right back to the zoo to start the process of settling them into their enclosures at the lab.

All frogs going into quarantine are tested for amphibian chytrid fungus.

The process of collecting a non-invasive skin swab to test for amphibian disease.

Each frog is set up in its own enclosure when in quarantine. The enclosures are cleaned out daily.

admin in Uncategorized on December 15 2011 » 1 comment

Back in the Field

We have been working in the field to collect specimens for captive assurance colonies. We have also been monitoring for emergent infectious disease. Here are a few shots from this field trip.

Our field work is often times set where the Andes Mountains are in the background. This is actually a time exposure of the moon rising over the Andes.

When surveying localities with old growth forest, we sometimes come across special plants. This is a special fern (probably a species of Blechnum) common to older growth forest.

One of us setting up along a stream to take a photograph.

The southern beech forests of south Chile are special places. The trees can grow to old ages and their presence develops leaf litter on the forest floor that many Chilean amphibians prefer to live within.

Every now and again the biting flies get thick.

From a side profile, Darwin’s Frogs (Rhinoderma darwinii) may not appear all that cryptic.

Looking down from above, Darwin’s Frogs are very cryptic and blend in best with bamboo leaf litter.

Darwin’s Frogs come in a variety of colors and patterns. This specimen is particularly attractive.

 

admin in Uncategorized on November 16 2011 » 0 comments

More Baby Darwin’s Frogs

Spring has arrived in Chile and the Darwin’s Frogs in our breeding lab at the National Zoo of Chile in Santiago have started breeding earlier than last year.

Our frogs are ready for reproduction after fattening up over the long winter (North America’s summer).

This male frog is carrying young in its vocal sac.

This baby frog is roughly three months old. As you can see, Darwin’s Frogs sometimes require time to grow into their long noses!

admin in Uncategorized on September 20 2011 » 0 comments

More Media Coverage in Chile!

We certainly appreciate this great newspaper article in Chile!

http://www.lun.com/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?dt=2011-06-08&PaginaId=6&bodyid=0

admin in Uncategorized on June 08 2011 » 1 comment

We are in the news again!

We are thrilled to have had such a great article written about our recent success!

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/06/03/6780149-captive-male-frog-coughs-up-babies

admin in Uncategorized on June 07 2011 » 2 comments

The Frogs are Breeding Again

For the last few months, it’s been that time of year again.  The frogs in the lab have been breeding.  So far, this year has been a good year for reproductive output by the colony.   We wanted to provide a few images of what we have been seeing in the lab…enjoy!

This male Darwin's Frog in our facility remained with the developing clutch (his hand rests on the eggs) for most of their developmental period.

This male Darwin's Frog in our facility remained with the developing clutch (his hand rests on the eggs) for most of their developmental period.

This male is brooding a clutch in his vocal sac.  He was photographed through the front opening doors of his terrarium without having to disturb him.

This male is brooding a clutch in his vocal sac. He was photographed through the front opening doors of his terrarium without having to disturb him.

The babies are very small when they are first "coughed up" by the male.  This baby was recently spit out.

The babies are very small when they are first "coughed up" by the male. This baby was recently spit out.

Some of the babies develop green coloration early off.

Some of the babies develop green coloration early off.

We never keep more than two babies in a container.  We like to make sure that each baby gets enough to eat.

We never keep more than two babies in a container. We like to make sure that each baby gets enough to eat.

MUCH more to come…

admin in Uncategorized on May 01 2011 » 3 comments

Looking at the finished lab now…

When we stand in front of the lab now, we all get a real feeling of accomplishment.  The lab looks like what we all had in our minds.  The lab is functioning just as we had hoped.  The finishing touches on the lab have really helped to attract visitors to the zoo.  The large sculpture of the Darwin’s Frog is finished and sitting next to the lab.  The massive banner that we constructed hangs in front of the lab for visitors to read in Spanish or English.  Most importantly, the frogs inside the lab are healthy and breeding.
The Darwin's Frog sculpture that artist Bernardo Oryan produced now sits to the left of the lab.

The Darwin's Frog sculpture that artist Bernardo Oryan produced now sits to the left of the lab.

Our objective with the sculpture was to bring kids to the lab...and its worked!

Our objective with the sculpture was to bring kids to the lab...and its worked!

The Darwin's Frog sculpture, just to the left of the lab.

The Darwin's Frog sculpture, just to the left of the lab.

The massive banner hanging in front of the lab really helps educate visitors about amphibian decline, the plight of Chile's amphibians, and about what our project is doing with Darwin's Frogs.

The massive banner hanging in front of the lab really helps educate visitors about amphibian decline, the plight of Chile's amphibians, and about what our project is doing with Darwin's Frogs.

admin in Uncategorized on March 21 2011 » 0 comments