Good news in frog world this week.
Beautiful new frog species Boophis ulftunni on Madagascar
Scientists from the Spanish Scientific Research Council have found more than 200 new species of amphibian on Madagascar.
The discovery almost doubles the number of known amphibians on the island, and suggests the find of between 129 and 221 new species of frogs could also double the number of amphibians worldwide if extended to a global scale.
Unfortunately that’s where the good news ends.
The scientists say the natural riches of the island, located off the southeastern coast of Africa, have been largely underestimated and the study fuels more concerns that its unique wildlife is under threat.
Madagascar, a biodiversity hotspot in the Indian Ocean, is the world’s fourth-largest island and is well known for its exotic inhabitants like the ring-tailed lemur, the fossa and poisonous frogs.
Its natural riches have spawned a $390 million-a-year tourism industry, but months of political unrest have compromised any gains in conservation.
David Vieites, researcher at the Spanish National Natural Sciences Museum, said the recent political instability has led to the cutting of the forest within national parks, generating a lot of uncertainty about the future of the planned network of protected areas.
Almost a quarter of the new species discovered have not yet been found in unprotected areas, the study stated. More than 80 percent of the mammals in Madagascar are found nowhere else, while all but one of the 217 previously known species of amphibian are believed by scientists to be native.
Some 80 percent of Madagascar’s rain forest has been destroyed by human demands on the land and decades of rampant logging.
Sorry to get your hopes up – I guess this is more of a good news/bad news story after all.