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'Lost' toad rediscovered in Borneo

By Matthew Knight for CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Last observed in 1924, the Bornean Rainbow Toad has been rediscovered by scientists
  • Three tiny, long-legged toads measuring 30-51 millimeters were found in mountains in Malaysian Borneo
  • Amphibians are the most endangered group of vertebrates, according to conservation group, IUCN

(CNN) -- A toad which hasn't been observed in the wild for almost a century has been rediscovered by researchers in Malaysian Borneo.

Last seen 87 years ago, the Bornean Rainbow Toad (also called the Sambas Stream Toad) was found in forests in the Gunung Penrissen mountain range in Sarawak State.

Photographs of the brightly-colored, spindly-legged toad are the first ever to be taken and were captured by professor Indraneil Das, who led the research team last year.

Das, an ecologist from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, described the find as "thrilling" and one which underlines the importance of targeted protection and conservation.

It is good to know that nature can surprise us when we are close to giving up hope
--Robin Moore, Conservation International
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"Amphibians are indicators of environmental health, with direct implications for human health. Their benefits to people should not be underestimated," Das, said in a statement.

Three individual toads -- a juvenile, a female and a male -- were observed in three different locations and range from 30-51 millimeters in length.

The research was part of a wider 'lost' amphibian search launched by Conservation International and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last year, which involved 126 researchers working in 21 countries on five continents.

"It is good to know that nature can surprise us when we are close to giving up hope, especially amidst our planet's escalating extinction crisis," Robin Moore, an amphibian specialist from Conservation International said in a statement.

According to IUCN amphibians are the most threatened group of vertebrates, with over 30% threatened with extinction.

"I hope that these unique species serve as flagships for conservation, inspiring pride and hope by Malaysians and people everywhere," Moore added.

 
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