Lost! Amphibians Of India: New Campaign Launched Through Partnership With University Of Delhi

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2nd November 2010, 09:30am - Views: 1478

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LOST! AMPHIBIANS OF INDIA: New Campaign Launched Through Partnership with University of Delhi

NEW DELHI, Nov. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

    The University of Delhi along with Global Wildlife Conservation, the Natural History Museum (London), the

IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and Conservation International

announced today an exciting new partnership to search for long lost amphibian species in India. The details of the

new campaign, called LOST! AMPHIBIANS of INDIA (LAI), was revealed to the world through the Internet

(http://www.lostspeciesindia.org) with a series of educational videos, social media postings, and the release of a

declaration of global support to follow asking individuals to sign on to the mission to find and protect these

threatened and near-extinct species.  

    "Now is the time to act and show our support for these species of India before they shift from lost to extinct," said

Conservation International's President, Dr. Russell Mittermeier.

    On November 2, 2010, the Minister of Environment, Shri. Jairam Ramesh, and other top officials from India's

environmental agencies will meet with LAI partners to plan the actions necessary for India's most imperiled

amphibians. This meeting and subsequent actions have already received funding from Indian government

agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, and others. However,

greater investment will be critical to the creation of a network of new protected areas. 

    India has more lost amphibian species, 48 in total, than any other country in the world. Most of these species

have not been seen by scientists for decades, with some missing for over 150 years. The majority of these species

are known only by a single preserved specimen in a jar at either the Natural History Museum in London or the

Zoological Survey of India. Worse yet, at least 17 lost species exist in name only, having been lost over the past


    LOST! AMPHIBIANS of INDIA aims to change this by organizing top teams of researchers from India and around

the world to explore India's remaining wilderness areas, in order to relocate existing populations of these

amphibians and assess their conservation requirements. Many of the sites are remote and present the hazards of

rugged terrain and monsoon rains. However if the effort to find them is not made now, their habitats may be lost

before appropriate conservation actions can be implemented. Only 1.5% of the original forests remain in the

Western Ghats and several species are already thought to be extinct; many other parts of the country have even

worse habitat loss. 

    "Amphibians are popularly known as environmental barometers. They indicate the state of environmental health.

Hence any information about their conservation is extremely vital not only from an amphibian research point of view

but also from the perspective of overall nature conservation," explains Delhi University Associate Professor Dr S.

D. Biju, who is organizing the LAI project.  

    In preparation for finding species in need of swift conservation action, LOST! AMPHIBIANS of INDIA is

simultaneously initiating discussions to develop the Western Ghats Network of Protected Areas for Threatened

Amphibians (WNPATA; http://www.wnpata.org).  Protecting the amphibian habitats of India will also benefit

communities who depend on forests for the provision of freshwater, erosion control, and sources of livelihood. The

LOST! AMPHIBIANS of INDIA campaign is therefore not only a last chance to save some of the planet's most

endangered wildlife, but it will also focus attention on remote, rural communities in India and how they depend on

the integrity of the environment for its provision of natural resources.

    Saving lost amphibians will impact more than just the species that are the targets of exploration, but also entire

unique ecosystems and the people that depend on them. But to save them, first we have to find them.  The quest

has begun.  

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    The University of Delhi is a premier university of India and is known for its high standards in teaching and

research. The Vice President of India is the University's Chancellor. The Systematics Lab is a unit of the

Department of Environmental Biology and contributes to conservation of amphibians through discovery and

documentation of species.  

    Global Wildlife Conservation improves life on Earth by advancing both academic and applied approaches to

conservation research, action, and education. Along with its numerous strategic worldwide partners, GWC is

pursuing a common goal: to save plants and animals from extinction and better understand and maintain the

natural world and its biological diversity. 

    The mission of the Natural History Museum (London) is to maintain and develop its collections and use them to

promote the discovery, understanding, responsible use and enjoyment of the natural world.

     SOURCE: Global Wildlife Conservation

    CONTACT: J. Tayloe Emery, 



    NOTE TO EDITORS: For interview requests please contact:  S.D. Biju    Mobile: (0091) 9871933622    Office:

(0091)  11 27662365  Email: wnpata.project@gmail.com or lostamphibians@gmail.com


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