Golden Toad

Extinct circa 1989 CEMonteverde, Costa Rica

"But the amphibian decline that most galvanized international attention occurred in Costa Rica's Monteverde Reserve, the home of the spectacular golden toad. In 1987, the last year the population was at a normal level, biologists saw hundreds of thousands of animals gleaming like jewels in the dark green forest, Dr. Wake said. Two years later, they only found five animals. Since then, not one has been seen. In a paper to be published in December in the journal Conservation Biology, scientists report that the golden toad is almost certainly extinct; its disappearance is not due to some natural fluctuation of amphibian life cycles. Twenty other species of frogs and toads are also missing from the region."

Sandra Blakeslee, "New Culprit in Deaths of Frogs," The New York Times, September 16, 1997.

Image: Bufo Periglenes, Charles H. Smith, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2002.