Considered extinct for about 50 years, the Hula painted frog was spotted last week in Israel by a nature parks warden out monitoring the birds. The Hula Valley was covered in DDT and drained decades ago to stop the spread of diseases like malaria. It was established that along with malaria species indigenous to specific regions in Israel like the Hula painted frog, were gone for good. But new conservation measures that has brought water back to the Hula Valley shows that nature can spring back.
According to a Haaretz report, the warden Yoram Malka believed that the frog would return and had his eyes peeled when on his regular watch. He promised scientists that the painted frog would bounce back.
It was classified as extinct in 1996 yet Israeli authorities maintained that it was endangered.
“I saw something jump that didn’t look familiar,” said Malka. “I rushed over and caught a frog, and when I turned it over I saw that it had a black belly with white spots, the identifying mark of the painted frog. I immediately returned [with it] to the reserve’s office and took out the animal handbook, and I saw that what I had found look exactly like the painted frog that appears in the handbook.”
The discovery has shocked local conservationists. Dr. Sarig Gafni from the Ruppin Academic Center’s School of Marine Sciences, who is an expert in amphibians, ran to the reserve holding in hand the original 1940s paper describing the frog.
“It’s very exciting; to me it’s like finding the Dead Sea Scrolls of nature conservation in Israel,” says Sarig. “We must remember that in the past, only three adult samples of this species had ever been found.”
The captured frog is female, and Gafni wants to return it to nature as soon as possible and then continue the quest for others like her.
This news go to show how conservation efforts can go a long way in returning nature to the way it should be.
The marshes of Iraq are in serious decline. If any westerners are looking for a “cause”, consider reading this article on the Gardens of Eden to see how you can help another area in the Middle East restore its former glory.