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New Hope for the Large-crested Toad

 © Piotr Naskrecki

All funds raised through this project will support the development of a captive breeding program for the Large-crested Toad (Bufo cristatus) at the Africam Safari zoo in Puebla, Mexico. Mexico is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world and has particularly high amphibian diversity.  It supports one of the highest numbers of endemic and threatened amphibians, many of which are  found nowhere else in the world. The Large-crested Toad (recently reclassified as Ollotis cristata), a critically endangered species found only in Mexico, inhabits pine-oak cloud forest habitats.  Due to rampant conversion of forest habitat to agriculture, the toad has disappeared from most of its original range and now survives in only two localities. In fact, until recently, it was feared extinct. But the folks at Africam found tadpoles and metamorphs! The chytrid fungus is a looming threat to the Large-crested Toad as related toad species have proven susceptible to infection and chytrid is likely responsible for the extinction of other amphibians in Mexico.  Should chytrid infect the remaining wild populations, this species could be lost forever.


A recently discovered metamorph of the Large-crested Toad

Large-crested Toad, Bufo cristatus and habitat in the Sierra Madre Oriental








Africam Safari is bringing new hope to the Large-crested Toad.  With your help, they will design and carry out a comprehensive campaign to save the toad.  Your funds will help build a biosecure facility to house and breed the toads until they can be safely released back into their natural habitat.  To determine the scope and impact of chytrid in wild amphibian populations, the zoo will closely coordinate monitoring efforts with experts at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. While caring for the toads in captivity, Africam Safari has partnered with Naturalia, a non-profit organization, to restore degraded lands to suitable habitat for the toad.  The zoo will additionally provide local communities with a number of economic alternatives to deforestation to help prevent further toad habitat loss.  These habitats will provide a home for wild toads as well as for future releases of captively reared toads.  Africam Safari will accompany these activities with an extensive amphibian education program at the zoo to raise awareness about the amphibian crisis and the Large-crested Toad in particular. The animals in captivity will provide much-needed information on this species’ biology, an essential educational tool for local communities, and most importantly - a source of healthy toads for future reintroductions into the wild.