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Context: Once a species is classified as extinct, odds are it isn’t coming back. Ecologists at Michigan State University (MSU) and collaborators in Ecuador have found 32 species of an amphibian genus — Atelopus or harlequin frogs — still surviving in the wild.
- A recent report by international non-governmental organisation World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Living Planet Report 2022painted a grim picture of the status of wildlife conservation and called for urgent action to reverse nature loss.
- The WWF report linked the loss of wildlife populationsof mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish with the climate crisis and highlighted the broken relationship of humans with nature. The highest decline (94 per cent) was in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, while the least was in Europe and central Asia (18 per cent).
- But there are other threats to biodiversity as well. Since the 1980s, a fungus called Bd — short for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis — has been killing off members of more than 500 species of amphibians.
- The harlequin frog genus was hit exceptionally hard by the fungus, according to the MSU research team. Over the past four decades, experts believed that upwards of 80 per cent of its species were driven to extinction.