Conservationists agog over new frog species

They are not exactly Princes Charming, but the two new frog species discovered in the forest of Southern Leyte have caused excitement among conservationists who have almost given up on the deforested province.

Environmentalists and government officials announced on Monday the discovery of the two new frog species, which, they said, were found in the forest of Mt. Nacolod in Southern Leyte last year.

Conservationists from Fauna and Flora International (FFI) conducted a monthlong survey of the Nacolod mountain range and discovered the two new frog species. The Nacolod range stretches over the municipalities of Hinunangan, Sogod, Maasin, Tomas Oppus, and Malitbog.

The survey had the backing of the German development agency GIZ, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the National Museum, which were cooperating on the United Nations reforestation initiative called reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) project.

The FFI said the two new frog species belong to the genus Platymantis. Ronald Allan Altamirano, leader of the survey, said the species were found one week into the assessment.

“They were found at night,” Altamirano said in an interview. “We heard a different call from the frogs so the team searched for it,” he said.

The team found one of the frogs on a tree branch and found the other on the ground, Altamirano said.

Scientists have not yet named the frogs. The FFI suggested that one of the frogs be named Platymantis reddorum, after the REDD project.

Filipino and American herpetologists are working on the formal taxonomic description of the species, the FFI said.

Aside from the new frog species, the Mt. Nacolod assessment also recorded 229 flora species, 31 of them found only in the Philippines.

The survey team recorded 212 vertebrates, which included 112 birds, 36 mammals and 64 amphibians and reptiles. The FFI said most of these animals are endangered species. 🙄

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