The golden frog, a Panamanian national symbol, began vanishing from its high mountain forests in the late 1990s, prompting a scientific investigation and rescue process that continues today.
Veteran science educator Markle (Hip-Pocket Papa, 2010, etc.) describes a mission that has involved scientists from around the world. Organizing her information in short chapters, she opens with a straightforward introduction of both the problem and the two biologists who have been most closely involved. She explains why the increased frog mortality couldn’t be blamed on habitat destruction, pollution or global climate change and describes the discovery of the devastating chytrid fungus, explaining how it works to kill frogs and offering some hypotheses that explain how it spread. Finally, she turns to the rescue and search for a cure. Panamanian golden frogs may now be extinct the wild, and no way has yet been found to ensure their survival outside the institutions that keep breeding colonies alive in Panama and in North American zoos. The text is set on golden pages and accompanied by large, clear color photographs and maps. In the backmatter, the author notes that in spite of their common name, these frogs are actually toads and offers suggestions for helping frogs locally and learning about global efforts.
A sobering glimpse at science in progress. (glossary, list of books and websites, index) (Nonfiction. 9-13)