Ugly and Facing Extinction: ‘World’s ugliest frog family’ faces extinction

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What may well be the world’s ugliest family of frogs is facing extinction before some of them even have a name for their species – due to a deadly fungus, climate change and pollution.


And a dedicated team in Bolivia, South America, is ready to fight to save the frogs.

“We love this family of frogs named Telmatobius, but we recognise that people may find them aesthetically challenging! We believe that every species deserves to survive. Every species is a cog in a beautiful and healthy ecosystem.

“Some species in this family don’t even have a species name yet. We think that one of the worst things that can happen is to have a photo of a species but to lose it before we really know anything about it or before it even has a name. We hope that individuals and companies come together to help us to ensure that this doesn’t happen” – said Arturo Muñoz, creator of the Bolivian Amphibian Initiative.

The Bolivian Amphibian Initiative (BAI) plans to study the species, raise awareness and work together with local communities to prevent these frogs from being lost forever.

Perhaps the most well known of the Telmatobius family is the Critically Endangered Lake Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus). Arturo is currently completing a PhD on the ecology of the Lake Titicaca Frog at Ghent University, Belgium. The study will help the BAI to be able to protect the Lake Titicaca Frog and will also provide valuable information to amphibian conservationists around the world.

Patricia Mendoza-Miranda of the BAI adds, “We have chosen one of the frogs, Froggie, to be the mascot of the project. We hope that Froggie’s plight will move people into wanting to help. We have set up a webpage where people can support him and the

All photos Dirk Ercken/BAI

The Bolivian Amphibian Initiative was created in 2007 with the mission to prevent extinction of endangered species in Bolivia. Bolivia has more than 270 species of amphibians, more than 45 of these species are found only in Bolivia and more than 35 species are threatened with extinction. The BAI works in research, training and education to achieve its goals of preventing extinctions.