Alejandro Arteaga, a 19-year-old university student, talks about his discovery of a new frog species living in Ecuador’s Andean highlands, the Bamboo Rain-Peeper (Pristimantis bambu). He tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme how he and his colleagues traipsed through the forest late at night searching for tiny creatures with the aid of headlamps. The result was many seemingly identical little, brown frogs. At first, Alejandro grouped them as the same species, Mountaineer Rain-Peepers (Pristimantis orestes). However, after much hard work and observation, he uncovered differences in their songs and ecological preferences. He soon came to realize that those frogs that had a different song also were restricted to patches of bamboo forest, while the other seemingly identical frogs lived in old-growth montane forests and paramos. Neither habitats, nor songs overlapped. Discovering a species new to science is not an easy task but as, Alejandro notes, in the right place, with the right info, and with the right assistance, the task becomes much easier, and even fun.
Alejandro Arteaga is an experienced and talented 19 year-old student from Venezuela studying biology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador. He’s also the founder Tropical Herping, a novel initiative striving to discover, document and preserve tropical reptiles and amphibians through sustainable tourism, scientific research and effective environmental education. This episode of “The WildLife” was posted on September 5, 2011.
The WildLife is a show that explores the mysteries of the animal world through interviews with scientists, authors and other wildlife investigators. It airs every Monday from 1-2 pm EST on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont.
Alejandra Goyenechea, international lawyer, discusses the global amphibian trade and its impact on rare and threatened species. She tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme about the benefits of frogs and the many threats – such as habitat loss, climate change, pollution, disease, and overexploitation – to their survival. Did you know frogs indicate environmental quality, like canaries in a coal mine? Or that many have medicinal properties, like the phantasmal poison dart frog which produces a painkiller 200 times the potency of morphine? A booming international trade exists that uses frogs for food, pets, medicine and scientific purposes – a trade that is now jeopardizing the continued existence of many species. Ms. Goyenechea is International Counsel at the International Conservation Program of Defenders of Wildlife and also Chair of the Species Survival Network’s (SSN) Amphibian Working Group. Her primary focus is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and other international trade law issues, with an emphasis on Latin America. She has worked at several international institutions and organizations and has experience in wildlife policy and broader experience in other environmental areas. During her work with the Mexican government she represented the Environmental Enforcement Agency at the international level. She also has interned or worked at the Organization of American States, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) North American office, and the DC law firm Baker Botts. Alejandra earned her law degree at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, in Mexico, and came in 2000 to Washington DC to complete a Masters degree, LLM, in International Environmental Law, at the Washington College of Law at American University, with a Fulbright scholarship. She speaks fluent English, Spanish and French. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on February 8, 2010.