London: A team of experts have begun scouring the world for lost gold – as part of a quest to trace 100 ‘missing’ species of amphibian.
The conservationists hope to find possibly extinct animals including the golden toad, the hula painted frog, the Jackson’s climbing salamander and the gastric brooding frog.
Some of the species on the list have not been seen for decades, including the Turkestanian salamander, last seen in 1909.
‘This is something that has never been done before and is hugely significant,’ said Dr Claude Gascon, of Conservation International, which is running the scheme in 14 countries.
`The search for these lost animals may well yield vital information in our attempts to stop the amphibian extinction crisis and information that helps humanity to better understand the impact that we are having on the planet.’
Amphibians are particularly sensitive to environmental changes, with more than 30 per cent facing extinction. They play a vital role controlling insects that spread diseases, while chemicals in their skins have been used to create life-saving drugs, including a painkiller 200 times more potent than morphine.