India's dwindling wildlife got a boost when biologists in Tamil Nadu found a frog after 136 years, the oldest rediscovery in the global wildlife history.
Five frogs lost 30 to 136 years ago have been found, earning India acclaim from International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Conservation International, two leading global wildlife groups.
The most amazing discovery is of the striking green fluorescent frog, known as Chalazodes Bubble-nest, which was last seen in south Western Ghats in 1874. Its only specimen in the world is in a British Museum.
"After 1874 the amphibian has now been seen in Kodayar, Tamil Nadu," said Dr S D Biju, biologist with Delhi University and coordinator for an ambitious project of department of science and technology to rediscover lost 50 Indian amphibian species. India has 321 recorded amphibian species of which 13% have been lost due to human interference.
The uniqueness of the Bubble-nest is its ash blue thighs and black pupils with golden patches and its secret life, especially during the day inside the reeds. It is a frog, which does not go through the free-swimming tadpole stage.
The second discovery from south Western Ghats of Anamalai is the Dot-frog, named after Anamalai hills, where they were last seen 73 years ago. Now it has been found in Parambikulum area of Kerala. A silent amphibian, Dot-frogs croak loudly only during monsoons, especially when its hiding places get filled up with water.
While the first two discoveries were by scientists, Delhi University graduate students rediscovered Dehradun Stream Frog after a gap of 25 years in Chakrata, Uttarakhand.
The fourth and the fifth rediscovery of Silent Valley Tropical Frog, last seen 30 years ago, and Elegant Tropical Frog, last seen 73 years ago, were in Kerala and Karnataka, respectively.
India launched Lost Amphibians Initiative with support of former cricketer Anil Kumble and other global partners in 2010 to trace 50 lost species, of which five have been rediscovered. "We are working towards finding the remaining 45," Biju said.