The Story of Monteverde,Costa Rica’s Golden Toad
“Since 1989 not a single golden toad has been found anywhere in the world.”
A small, shiny bright orange colored toad, about two inches in diameter was once abundant in a 3.9 square mile radius (1o square km) in the high altitudes of the wet Monteverde Cloud Forests of Costa Rica, thus given the name the Monteverde Golden Toad. It was last seen twenty years ago and is now declared an extinct species. The reason for it’s extinction is not known but scientist speculate that it is from the world’s climate change due to global warming, causing disruptions in weather patterns. Or possibly a fungal which adheres to the toad’s skin. The female is slightly larger than the male and has a color of dark olive to black with scarlet spots encircled in yellow.
These toads burrow deep into the earth and can be seen only when they come out at night. The golden toad’s breeding season is April through June , when there is very heavy rainfall forming small pools of water where the toads gather in enormous numbers. The males out number the females by 8:1. Successful mating produces about 200-400 eggs, taking around five weeks to metamorphose.
In 1987 there was much lesser rainfall due to a phenomenon called “el Nino”. This caused these small pools of water to dry up before the larvae had time to mature. Out of a possible 30,000 toads only 29 toads were found to have survived.
Today this area where the toads once reproduced is protected, and there are hopes that one day the golden toad will return.
Recently a group of British scientist from Manchester University and Manchester Zoo came to the Monteverde Cloud Reserve to again look for the infamous golden toad. They spent two weeks but were not able to locate a single golden toad.
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