This Newly Rediscovered Toad Is On The Brink Of Extinction; Again

Throughout history, all kinds of discoveries have been made, and in 1925, there was a lot going on in the world. The first motel opened in San Louis Obispo, California, The Great Gatsby was published, Norway officially changed its capital to Oslo, and the wonderfully small Amathole toad was discovered.

Shortly after the toad’s discovery, however, it disappeared and scientists thought it was gone forever.

But in 2011, Dr. Jeanne Tarrant and the Threatened Amphibian Program rediscovered the toad that was thought to be completely extinct.

International Union For Conservation Of Nature/Vincent Carruthers
International Union For Conservation Of Nature/Vincent Carruthers

When her team stumbled upon a female amathole toad, they were completely shocked to see not only the toad itself, but eggs and tadpoles, as well.

This program led by Tarrant has been instrumental in making a massive difference for amphibians all over the globe, especially the amathole toad.

“What Jeanne and her team have been able to accomplish is really very special,” said Rainforest Trust’s Director of Biodiversity Programs, James Lewis. “Jeanne has not only found species thought to have gone extinct, but she is also engaging thousands of people in the protection of amphibians and really making a difference to the lasting survival of highly threatened species.”

But for all of the good Tarrant and her group has done, the amathole toad is still in grave danger of going extinct. Again.

In the spectacularly green and forested slopes of the Amatola mountains in South Africa, only seven total toads have been found over the past five years of desperate searching.


No formal protection exists for these critically endangered toads, and they are facing threats like deforestation, agriculture, overgrazing, and wildfires on a daily basis.

So little is know about these amphibians because they were thought to be completely gone from the planet until only a couple of years ago, which makes it even more difficult to know how to find and protect them.

They are incredibly small, with females only getting to be about and inch and a half long, and their dark gray/olive brown color makes them incredibly difficult to see in the forests of the eastern cape of South Africa.

Without help, this rediscovered creature may go extinct for the last time, never to be seen again.

Check out the link below to learn more and how to help!

Article continues below

Our Featured Programs

See how we’re making a difference for People, Pets, and the Planet and how you can get involved!

Protect the Planet

Help preserve vital habitat at The Rainforest Site for free!