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Calilegua’s Marsupial Frog


Where is the Calilegua’s marsupial frog? Searching a lost frog and implementing conservation measures for its return

The Calilegua’s marsupial frog (Gastrotheca christiani) is a Critically Endangered species that has been missing for 25 years despite the search efforts in recent years. The main aim of the project is to obtain evidence that the Calilegua’s marsupial frog still exists, as a basis for any future conservation effort on this lost species.

Activities are related to the continuation and expansion of the search program, combining active search with passive monitoring techniques such as passive acoustic monitoring using automated recording units in combination with automated recognition software to detect vocalizations of these elusive marsupial frogs. Apart from the known threats such as habitat loss and a possible chytrid-related catastrophic declines, the recent opening of the tourist corridor of routes 73-83 from the locality of Humahuaca to the Calilegua National Park could represent a new threat for the endemic and endangered amphibian species of Yungas Andean forests due to the increasing and uncontrolled tourist activities as well as road traffic. This new potential threat needs to be assessed and the respective conservation measures outlined.

In 2019, Stiftung Artenschutz supported the edition of a children's book “Cristal, La Ranita Marsupial”. A follow-up educational programme will use the book as an ambassador in the elementary schools of the localities of San Francisco and Valle Grande in Jujuy Province. With this, the proactive outreach campaign continues to increase the local and national awareness about the conservation of marsupial frogs and its natural habitats in the Yungas Andean forests.

Calilegua’s marsupial frog (Gastrotheca christiani)


Implementing Partner:
 Instituto de Ecorregiones Andinas (INECOA), CONICET - UNJu

Funding period:
Dec 2021 - Nov 2022




Project goals

  • To locate a population of the missing Calilegua’s marsupial frog
  • To investigate the potential new threat of a tourist corridor from Humahuaca to the Calilegua National Park
  • To create awareness and provide education measures to support the conservation of marsupial frogs


  • To conduct in total eight field search campaigns with visual searches as well as acoustic survey methods
  • To train the National Park staff in amphibian standard monitoring techniques and species recognition
  • To assess the potential threat of a tourist corridor in the area, by surveys as well as meetings with the authorities
  • To develop and implement an educational program using the book “Cristal, La Ranita Marsupial” as species ambassador in the elementary schools