Target: Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature
Goal: List the newly rediscovered starry shrub frog as Critically Endangered
The starry shrub frog was first discovered in 1853, when naturalist Edward Frederick Kelaart came upon the species during an expedition to Sri Lanka. The rare and elusive frog was later declared extinct by scientists who were unable to locate the species in its natural habitat. Recently, another expedition into Sri Lanka’s Peak Wilderness Sanctuary led L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe to discover the very same frog that had been thought extinct for over a century. Scientists counted a total of 78 individual frogs, but it remains unknown how many still live in the wild.
While the starry shrub frog most likely escaped detection for so long due to its size and habitat, its numbers remain critically threatened. Development in the forests that the frog calls home could mean that the species may soon face permanent extinction. Expanding tea plantations, illegal gem mining, pollution, invasive species, and dying forests all endanger the frog’s survival.
Sri Lanka must work to protect the starry shrub frog and the countless other species that reside in the Peak Wilderness. But first, the frog must be granted the Critically Endangered status it rightly deserves. Urge the Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature to list this frog among its most threatened species and take action to protect its dwindling habitat.
Dear Julia Marton-Lefèvre,
Recently, scientists encountered a species of frog in Sri Lanka that had not been seen for 160 years. The starry shrub frog, a small, elusive amphibian, was discovered during an expedition into the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary. Scientists counted 78 individual frogs, but it remains unknown how many still survive in the wild.
Sri Lanka’s Peak Wilderness faces threats from a variety of sources. Gem mining, deforestation, pollution, and invasive species all endanger the starry shrub frog’s survival as a species. Without prompt conservation action, the starry shrub frog and its habitat may soon disappear for good.
Because the frog was thought to be extinct for so long, it currently does not enjoy protection under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s endangered species list. I urge you to investigate the status of this species and list it as Critically Endangered before it becomes permanently extinct.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Vipin Baliga via Flickr