Recently Rediscovered Bururi Frog Faces Another Round of Possible Extinction

Target: Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Goal: Heighten efforts to study and recognize the Bururi long-fingered frog in order to better educate the public and promote conservation efforts on behalf on the little-known animal.

For half a century, the small (1.3 inch-long) Bururi long-fingered frog was considered to be extinct.  Until recently, the highly elusive frog has been largely a mystery to the many scientists looking to discover more (anything) about the amphibian.  Late last year a group of researchers working with the California Academy of Sciences, of San Francisco, was delighted to find the small grayish blue frog accented with black spots in the southwestern region of East Africa’s Burundian forests.

This feat was made all the greater by the fact that these scientists had been looking for this tiny frog in the vast forest without much help.  Think of it as a lot like trying to find a very small needle in a very large haystack. Originally, the frog was discovered in 1949 by a Belgian biologist who left hardly any mention as to where the animal could possibly be located.  “I happened to take my stick and push aside some vegetation, and lo and behold, sitting on the log was this species that hadn’t been seen since 1949,” explains David Blackburn of the expedition, which just announced their finding earlier this month. “It was a great moment.”

And with this new thrill that comes along with any new discovery, concerns are now being raised about the future for this animal. Like many animals living in the wild, destructive and invasive human encroachment are threatening to wipe out the animal and the environment in which it lives.  Like the recently discovered hammerhead shark variation, the Bururi frog species faces the real possibility of extinction before it is ever officially recognized by an international community.  Without immediate global efforts to protect the Bururi frog, third time may not be a charm and this could be the last we ever hear from the animal…again.


Dear Ms. Marton-Lefèvre,

The elusive Bururi frog of East Africa has long been considered to be extinct. Ever since it was first discovered in 1949, the small amphibian has gone unseen for decades—that is until recently, when researchers from the United States and the Democratic Republic of Congo were fortunate enough to stumble upon the frog in the Burundian forest.

While the mystery of the Bururi frog’s existence is no longer in question, there is still plenty more that can be learned about the animal.  In order to ensure the longevity of this species, we first need to learn about it.  With threats to their population and environment growing every day, time cannot be wasted.

As a leading member of the IUCN you, along with your organization, can provide the necessary global support for which the Bururi frog can benefit.  I write to you in order to urge you and the IUCN to continue research on the Bururi long-fingered frog and provide the public with the proper information that will help garner support for the animal worldwide.


[Your name here]

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