Captive-breeding programme for the Kihansi spray toad Nectophrynoides asperginis at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, New York

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Abstract

The Kihansi spray toad Nectophrynoides asperginis is a diminutive, ovoviviparous Bufonidae endemic to the Kihansi River Gorge in Tanzania. This region is part of the Udzungwa escarpment of the Eastern Arc Mountains. The species occurs within a c. 2 ha area, one of the smallest geographic ranges of any terrestrial vertebrate. The taxon is listed on Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and as Critically Endangered by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources). The Kihansi spray toad is particularly vulnerable to habitat alteration, disease and introduction of competitors or predators, any of which may cause extinction. The biology of this toad and its restricted range also make it especially susceptible to disturbance by humans. This paper discusses the efforts of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the National Amphibian Conservation Center (NACC) to breed these toads in captivity as an integral part of the Kihansi Gorge conservation plan.

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