Last Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog died

Rabbs' fringe-limbed treefrog
This adult male Rabbs' fringe-limbed tree frog (Ecnomiohyla rabborum) in the Atlanta Botanical Garden (named Toughie) was the last known surviving member of its species. Photographed by Brian Gratwicke (2011). Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

The last known Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog (Ecnomiohyla rabborum), a male known as “Toughie” estimated to be about 12 years old, has died at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

In 2005, during a rescue mission a team of scientists, sent by the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Zoo Atlanta and Southern Illinois University, collected in Panama live amphibians before the chrytrid fungus struck the area in 2006. The Zoo Atlanta curator identified a species of tree frog new to science. In 2008, these tree frogs were scientifically described and named Ecnomiohyla rabborum, after the conservationists and herpetologists George B. Rabb and Mary S. Rabb.

In December 2007, only one individual was heard in deep forest on Cerra La Gaita, Panama. The species has not been observed in the wild since 2007. The fate of the Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog was written when the last female in captivity passed away in 2009. It was survived by two males. On 17 February 17 2012, one was euthanized at Zoo Atlanta in Georgia due to failing health.

In 2008 the Atlanta Botanical Garden purchased and outfitted a climate-controlled facility known as the FrogPOD, designed to house the Rabb’s tree frog and other rare amphibians in complete isolation from each other. It is in this facility that Toughie, the last Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog, spent his last years. Monday morning on 26 September 2016, the body of Toughie was discovered in its enclosure during a routine daily health inspection. With his dead an entire unique species becomes extinct.