Considered to be one of the most spectacularly
colored toads on Earth with its brilliant yellow-orange coloring, the Golden toad is believed to be limited to
only a single mountain in Costa Rica, Monteverde. Although always rare, for a few weeks in April every year, hundreds
on these brilliant toads gathered in pools in a breeding orgy. However, the toad population dropped sharply since its discovery in 1967 from
several thousand gathered in 1987 to just 10 in 1988, none of which were breeding. In 1989 only a single male
toad, seeking a mate, was observed. This individual may have been the last Golden toad on Earth; no golden toads
have been seen since. The disappearance of the golden toad is of particular significance since its habitat is in a national preserve.
The mechanism triggering the disappearance of the Golden Toad and the decline in frog and toad populations worldwide
is unknown. It is speculated that global climate change or increased UV penetration may be responsible. Recent
American studies show that increased UV radiation have a significant effect on the development of amphibians. In
1997 and 1998, researchers found evidence that a fungus-like microbe (chytrids) may be partly responsible for the
demise of amphibian populations. UV-radiation, pollution, and climate change may have weakened the immune system
leaving amphibians vulnerable to infection from the usually harmless microbes.
Research in early 2000 indicate that a similar die-off among amphibians caused by chytrid skin disease may have
occurred in the late 1970s