Fourteen new species of ''dancing'' frog have been discovered in India, raising both hopes and fears for the amphibians' survival in the wild. The frog has been named for its ostentatious mating dance but scientists fear that continuing human encroachment into its habitat will soon render it extinct. Rob Muir reports.
The dancing frog gets its name from the male of the species, whose unique leg-kicking dance is designed to attract the ladies. But the frog is in decline, the victim of habitat loss, pollution and global warming, so it was with some fanfare that the recent discovery of 14 new species of dancing frog was announced by a team led by Sathyabhama Das Biju of Delhi University. He says it was a bitter sweet discovery. The frogs live in unprotected forest, targeted for development. SOUNDBITE (English) PROFESSOR S.D BIJU, DELHI UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "Almost 70-75 percent of their population is outside the protected area, that means they are on the verge of extinction simply because of habitat loss" And in the mountainous Western Ghats region of India, the frog's future is inextricably linked with an ongoing debate, pitting developers against conservationists. SOUNDBITE (English) ) PROFESSOR S.D BIJU, DELHI UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "It is our responsibility to think about how to conserve the water bodies extremely important for our own survival. This frog is only dancing in the perennial streams of the forests and adjoining regions so they have to be conserved." If those perennial streams are not conserved say Biju, the frog may soon be facing its last dance.