Kihansi Spray Toad
The Kihansi Spray Toad, Nectophrynoides asperginis, is a dwarf toad, which rarely grows to be more than 2cm long. It is now classified as ‘Extinct in the Wild’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. This species was only known from a two-hectare range around the Kihansi Falls, in the Kihansi Gorge, eastern Tanzania.
The serious decline and extinction of this species appears related to both habitat loss and the devastating amphibian Chytridiomycosis fungal disease. In 2000, a dam was constructed on the Kihansi River, which cut off 90 percent of the original water flow to the gorge. The volume of spray was significantly reduced, altering the vegetational composition of the Kihansi Spray Toad’s habitat. The Kihansi Spray Toad moved from ‘Critically Endangered’ to ‘Extinct in the Wild’ on the IUCN Red List in 2009.
A captive breeding progamme is ongoing in Toledo and New York Bronx Zoos which, if successful, will eventually release a new population of toads back to their former range. The program also involves capacity building, in which Tanzanian experts are trained on amphibian husbandry techniques. These trained experts will then return to help build the breeding facility in Tanzania in preparation for Kihansi Spray Toad rehabilitation to their native wetland habitat.