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Save a Species: Atelopus Varius

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
67 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on November 04, at 12:00 AM MST
Project Owners

Save a Species: Atelopus Varius

We are raising funds to implement a rescue plan for a ‘Critically Endangered’ and iconic frog found in Costa Rica. The Atelopus varius, a colorful harlequin toad, is faced with extinction without protection from a deadly fungal disorder that has decimated frog populations across Central and South America. With your help, we can continue our work to save one of the only known remaining populations of this beautiful amphibian. Your support will directly help this animal avoid extinction by allowing us to put our Atelopus varius rescue plan into action.

The Problem

The Atelopus varius is a harlequin frog that once thrived in Central and South America. Over the past few decades, these frogs have been decimated by a fungal disorder called chytridiomycosis. This infectious disease eventually kills these amphibians, but not before it spreads to other frogs. One of the only known populations of the Atelopus varius was rediscovered in Costa Rica, but unfortunately, it’s affected by this fungus and is aging out of reproduction. We need to take action now to try to save this species, before it’s too late.

Who are we?

My name is Jan Schipper and I’m a postdoctoral researcher with Arizona State University School of Life Sciences and the Phoenix Zoo. I work with a small team of local and international researchers and students, to study this critically endangered frog, along with other endangered species.

Our Project 

Biosecurity Protocol We believe there is still hope for the Atelopus varius frog. The small population we study is located in the Talamancan Mountains of Costa Rica. To secure the survival of these frogs, we need to implement a Biosecurity Protocol. To begin this process, we need new tools to facilitate a decontamination process so anything that goes in or out of the frog’s habitat is decontaminated. We want to make sure no other strains of this fungus can get to this site. Also, we need to move new resources, including a vehicle decontamination ‘dip’ and equipment for breeding enclosures, to this site so that local workers can help facilitate the biosecurity protocol and take care of the frog population. Finally, we need to improve our research by increasing the testing for the fungus on these frogs, and we need to start this process this fall.

Wish List

  • Decontamination dip for all vehicles entering the private conservation preserve.
  • New or use vehicle to transport people and equipment. Vehicle would remain on-site.
  • Solar generator
  • Breeding enclosures to prevent exposure to predators.
  • Salaries for local workers to complete frog surveys and implement decontamination program.

We can help save the Atelopus varius by working with people like you, who care about these frogs and their future. You can Help Save a Species. Please, make your contribution now. Thank you!

Choose a giving level


The Rescuer

A gift of this amount could be used for hiring a local conservation worker for one day to facilitate our Biosecurity Protocol in Costa Rica.


Amphibian Advocate

A gift of this amount could allow us to test 5 Atelopus varius frogs for the chytrid fungus.


Harlequin Hero

A gift of this amount could construct one enclosure to protect tadpoles from invasive trout predation.


River Guardian

A gift of this amount could protect one side of one half-mile of riverbank habitat for the Atelopus varius for one year. With our gratitude, you will receive a high-resolution digital wallpaper of the Atelopus varius.

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