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  Priority countries and species

Between 2007 and the end of 2014, Amphibian Ark (AArk) staff facilitated 26 national or regional workshops to assess the conservation needs of 3,375 (46%) of the world’s amphibian species. Some of the national Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG) Chairs from these countries contacted the AArk, and requested that we facilitate the assessment of species in their respective countries. In other cases, the ASG Chairs from many of these priority countries were contacted by AArk staff with the recommendation that a conservation needs assessment would be beneficial for their respective countries. AArk staff created a prioritized list of countries that would benefit from an amphibian conservation needs assessment, and this list is regularly reviewed and updated.

Priority countries
The original list of priority countries was developed using a formula based on the number of amphibians species in each country, the number of those that were threatened (i.e. IUCN Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable), and the number of endemic species. A revised version of this list also takes into consideration if an assessment has already been undertaken (with a recommendation for re-assessing every 5 years), and how many species were actually assessed during previous assessments (in some cases, sufficient expertise was not available to assess all species). The current list of the top 20 priority countries for assessment or re-assessment using the formula is:

Papua New Guinea
Costa Rica
Sri Lanka

Priority species
Within each country, the highest priority species for Conservation Needs Assessments are the threatened species - those listed in the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable - since they are often most in need of some type of conservation action. Species listed as Data Deficient or those that have not yet been evaluated for the Red List are also high priority because often, current knowledge about the species in the field can result in a more definitive Red List category. But it is also strongly recommended that to develop a comprehensive national conservation action plan, all species in the Class be evaluated. Often, species listed as Least Concern can play a very valuable role as analog or surrogate species that can be used to develop husbandry guidelines for more threatened but related species, and they can also be used for conservation education purposes to raise awareness about the plight facing many amphibian species.

It is strongly recommended that all species in a given country be assessed for their conservation needs, so that a holistic picture of the status of national amphibians can be developed, with all species then being prioritized for the most appropriate conservation action(s). From the assessments and recommendations, a comprehensive national amphibian action plan can be developed.

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