Atelopus ignescens slideshow

Quito Stubfoot Toad

A second chance: saving the last wild population of the Critically Endangered Jambato harlequin through local community involvement

The Jambato harlequin (Atelopus ignescens) was a historically abundant species that disappeared in the late 1980s, until it was re-discovered in 2016. Some individuals were collected to initiate an emergency program of captive breeding at Centro Jambatu. However, no efforts have been made yet to ensure the conservation of the remaining wild population, whose actual status is unknown. Angamarca, the valley where this species lives, is heavily disturbed by human activities (agriculture and cattle raising) as well as the presence of invasive species (rainbow trout) that might be affecting its survival and reproduction.

The goal of this project led by members of the Latin-American Faculty for Social Sciences is to conduct a comprehensive demographic study and threat assessment of this Critically Endangered species, as well as raising local awareness to engage local communities in future conservation actions. The project will provide the basis to develop a long-term conservation program jointly with the local community that includes future threat mitigation actions to guarantee the survival of the species in the wild, such as habitat protection and restoration, reintroductions or translocations.

Quito Stubfoot Toad (Atelopus ignescens)


Implementing partner
Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales

Funding period:
Jan 2022 - Dec 2022

Project goals

  • To determine the size and structure of the species’ population in the wild, its distribution, habitat needs and threats
  • To devise an action plan for threat mitigation and conservation management based on the collected data
  • To identify economic sustainable livelihoods for the local communities, like agroecology and nature tourism
  • To raise awareness, concern and pride about the species for the people of Angamarca as part of their identity

Planned activities

  • To conduct appropriate surveys to determine distribution, abundance and population characteristics of the Jambato harlequin
  • To collect environmental variables of habitats where the species is found
  • To model the ecological niche and distribution of the species