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Assessment Results

© 2016 Benjamin Tapley / ZSL (1 of 3 )

AmphibiaWeb species account

IUCN Red List assessment

Conservation Needs Assessment

Oreolalax sterlingae ,   Sterling's Toothed Toad /
Assessed for:  Viet Nam   on: 07 Mar 2017   by: Benjamin Tapley  
Assessment Status: Completed  
Order:   Anura     Family:   Megophryidae

IUCN Global Red List:   Critically Endangered (CR)   
IUCN National Red List:   (not assessed)   
Distribution:     Viet Nam  
Evolutionary Distinctiveness score:   13.57060962 
Recommended Conservation Actions:   In Situ Conservation  , In Situ Research  , Conservation Education   
Additional Comments:    

Question #Short NameQuestion TextResponseComments
1 Extinction risk Current IUCN Red List category. [Data obtained from the IUCN Red List.] Critically Endangered (CR) Since the IUCN Red List Assessment for this species was published this species has been recorded 1km away from the type locality (near the summit of Mount Fansipan). Tadpoles have only been found at the type locality.
2 Possibly extinct Is there a strong possibility that this species might be extinct in the wild? No, unlikely
3 Phylogenetic significance The taxon’s Evolutionary Distinctiveness (ED) score, as generated by the ZSL EDGE program. (These data are not editable by Assessors). ED value < 20
4 Protected habitat Is a population of at least 50% of the individuals of the taxon included within a reliably protected area or areas? Yes, probably All known locations occur within a protected area, however these locations face significant threats due to development of infrastructure for tourism and all known locations are significantly impacted by tourism (litter, habitat destruction)
5 Habitat for reintroduction Does enough suitable habitat exist, either within or outside of currently protected areas that is suitable for potential reintroduction or translocation? Unknown This species occurs at high elevation sites. There are a limited number of sites within the Hoang Lien mountain range which may be appropriate in terms of habitat but these areas may themselves have unique amphibian assemblages which may preclude these sites as suitable sites for reintroduction even if it were deemed an appropriate conservation action.
6 Previous reintroductions Have reintroduction or translocation attempts been made in the past for this species? No
7 Threat mitigation Are the threats facing the taxon, including any new and emerging threats not considered in the IUCN Red List, potentially reversible? Threats are reversible in time frame The primary threat is the impact of tourism on the very small area that is occupied by this species. The impact of tourism could be reduced in the short term by offering strict protection of key sites, and improved waste disposal and effluent management at the type locality. This species could occur more widely but this is currently unknown. As the species appears to be restricted to high elevation sites it could be negatively impacted by climate change.
8 Over-collection from the wild Is the taxon suffering from unsustainable collection within its natural range, either for food, for the pet trade or for any other reason, which threatens the species’ continued persistence in the wild? No, unlikely
9 Population recovery Is the known population of this species in the wild large enough to recover naturally, without ex situ intervention if threats are mitigated? Unknown The breeding biology of this species is not well known. A limited number of tadpoles (<10) have been observed. There are no estimates of population size.
10 Biological distinctiveness Does the taxon exhibit, for example, a distinctive reproductive mode, behaviour, aspect of morphology or physiology, within its Class (e.g. Amphibia, Reptilia etc.)? No aspect of biology known to be exceptional This is the only known member of the genus Oreolalax to be found in mainland southeast Asia
11 Cultural/socio-economic importance Does the taxon have a special human cultural value (e.g. as a national or regional symbol, in a historic context, featuring in traditional stories) or economic value (e.g. food, traditional medicine, tourism) within its natural range or in a wider global context? No This species was described recently (2013).
12 Scientific importance Is the species vital to current or planned research other than species-specific ecology/biology/conservation? (e.g. human medicine, climate change, environmental pollutants and conservation science), within its Class (e.g. Amphibia, Reptilia etc.)? Research dependent upon < 6 species (incl. this taxon) This species and system may provide conservation biologists with a good opportunity to develop threat mitigation strategies that could be used as a model elsewhere. This is because the species is range restricted, occurs at a high elevation site and faces threats that could potentially be reversed in a relatively short period of time. The primary threat to this species is the tourism industry due to the impacts of tourism on the type locality (habitat loss, effluent discharge from toilets, littering and disturbance) as well as at the only other known area where it is known to occur (large scale infrastructural development). Some of these threats are reversible in a relatively short time frame and mitigation strategies developed at this site could be used as a model at other upland sites where amphibians are threatened due to tourism.
13 Ex situ research Does conserving this species (or closely related species) in situ depend upon research that can be most easily carried out ex situ? No
14 Husbandry analog Do the biological and ecological attributes of this species make it suitable for developing husbandry regimes for more threatened related species? i.e. could this species be used in captivity to help to develop husbandry and breeding protocols which could be used for a similar, but more endangered species at a later stage? No
15 Captive breeding Has this species been successfully maintained and bred in captivity? Not held in captivity to date
16 Educational potential Is the species especially diurnal/active/colourful and therefore suited to be an educational ambassador for conservation of this group of species? No This is one of only two species of amphibian in Viet Nam assessed as Critically Endangered. Whilst it is not brightly coloured or diurnal it inhabits an iconic upland site that is an important watershed and could be used as a flagship species for conservation.
17 Mandate Is there an existing conservation mandate recommending the ex situ conservation of this taxon? No
18 Range State approval Would a proposed ex situ initiative for this species be supported (and approved) by the range State (either within the range State or out-of-country ex situ)? Yes, probably Probably, but this species could not be housed in any existing facility in Viet Nam should there be need to at a later date. This is because it is a high elevation, stream dwelling species and it would be difficult to recreate this environment in captivity in Viet Nam.
19 Founder specimens Are sufficient animals of the taxon available or potentially available (from wild or captive sources) to initiate the specified ex situ program? Unknown No more than 15 specimens have been encountered at one time in the field
20 Taxonomic status Has a complete taxonomic analysis of the species in the wild been carried out, to fully understand the functional unit you wish to conserve (i.e. have species limits been determined)? No This species is morphologically distinct but robust phylogenetic analysis has not been completed.

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