Native to the mountains of west-central Panama, the golden frog has been considered a national symbol of hope and prosperity for centuries. Once abundant, this species is now critically endangered (some even believe it may be extinct in the wild).
In addition to the threats of deforestation and collection for the pet trade, an infectious diseases called chytridiomycosis has virtually wiped out the golden frog. These frogs play a crucial role in maintaining the rain forest ecosystems of Panama and Costa Rica. Golden frog tadpoles feed on an invasive algae, which helps balance the oxygen levels of streams and rivers.
The National Aquarium is part of a consortium of zoos and aquariums throughout North America coordinating breeding programs in an attempt to reintroduce these animals into their native habitat.
Today is Endangered Species Day. To learn more about our conservation and research programs, click here.