'Out in the field' - CiCi Blumstein aka Agent Amphibian. Portrait by Dean Chalkley 2014.

TEDx Talk: CiCi Blumstein aka Agent Amphibian on the Art of Amphibian Conservation & How to be a Frog Collaborator

My TEDx Talk, live-recorded on the 31 October 2014 at Brighton Dome, has now been published on YouTube. Featuring urban backyard frogs & habitats, Mobile Swamp Trolley art & amphibian sound installations, North Norfolk frog dialects and mass croaking in the auditorium, plus Toughie, the loneliest frog in the world. The talk was part of a one-day TEDx conference and Ideas Lab held in Brighton. Now in its 4th year, the buzzing, hugely popular event organised by TEDxBrighton, was oversubscribed and sold out days in advance, with over 1000 audience attending.

The Lost Croak of Toughie, the Last Rabbs Fringe-Limbed Tree Frog on Earth

Good news can be hard to come by in the field of amphibian conservation, with over 40% of all 7000+ amphibian species directly threatened and facing a catastrophic global extinction crisis. Mainly due to the emergent infectious amphibian disease Chytridiomycosis, as well as other factors such as habitat loss and pollution, amphibians are disappearing from our planet faster than any other living creature. However, since speaking at TEDxBrighton on the 31 October 2014, I’ve had some fantastic news just in about Toughie, one of the frogs featured in my talk. He is the last known Rabb’s Fringe-Limbed Tree Frog (Ecnomiohyla rabborum) – a Panamanian species of gliding frog believed to be extinct in the wild – now remaining in captivity in a bio-secure frogPOD at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.

At the time of my talk, Toughie had not croaked for nearly 10 years. As his call was never recorded and nobody could remember what it sounded like, it seemed his beautiful croak, along with his species, would be lost forever. But on 15th December 2014, Toughie the loneliest frog in the world started croaking again! In a wonderful stroke of luck, his keeper Mark Mandica happened to be in the frogPOD at the time, heard the unusual calls coming from Toughie’s tank and was able to make a recording.

Listen to Toughie’s croak recording and find further information here: http://bit.ly/ToughieCroaksAgain

Although this remains a sad, bitter-sweet story and it is probably too late for Toughie and his species, his croak is a call to action – to protect and conserve our amazing amphibians by any means possible, before they disappear forever.

Part of The Lucky Frog Log project. #AgentAmphibian  #croakorus