A beautifully rich and personal exploration of the plight of amphibians and the people working to save them. Moore's book proves him not just a fantastic photographer but an excellent reporter and compelling storyteller. Such a vital part of the natural world, amphibians are lucky to have this artist on their side. -- Jennifer S. Holland, NYT best-selling author of Unlikely Friendships and Unlikely Loves. Her latest book is Unlikely Heroes.
A magnificent record of the global hunt for "lost" frog species.
Dr. Robin Moore has a passion for frogs and a fascination with finding new and "lost" species. In 2010, he spearheaded the worldwide "Search for Lost Frogs" campaign, which coordinated the efforts of 33 teams of scientists in 19 countries on five continents in a quest to find 100 species of amphibian not seen in over a decade.
In Search of Lost Frogs is a stunning record of Moore's journey and what he and his team did (or did not) find. The book is overflowing with exquisite close-up photographs by Moore that display the frogs' remarkable coloring and camouflage, and reveal their diminutive size -- many of the frogs are less than 5 cm long, if that. Moore's engaging text tells the story of the expedition, its highs and lows, discoveries and failures, and the campaign's ongoing work.
The book's first half covers what frogs do for the health of the planet, the slippery slope of extinction, what is being done to monitor frog populations and find lost species, the Lazarus project (which aims to "revive" lost species) and the author's career-long resolve to find the Mesopotamia Beaked Toad.
The second half of the book is about the searches. Moore describes the struggles, victories and dangers as well as the science. He takes readers along as his team trudge through rainforest, climb mountains and paddle rivers in search of the lost frogs, some not seen for more than a century. He tells a story of perseverance, disappointment, rediscovery, resilience, but ultimately of hope, written with passion and illustrated with superb photographs. And a surprise ending: they found 15 lost frogs.
Naturalists, lovers of all things frog, schools and interested general readers will enjoy the stunning photographs, the science and the adventurous stories of discovery.
Since gaining a PhD in biodiversity conservation, Robin Moore has been a powerful voice for amphibian conservation with the Amphibian Survival Alliance. Robin Moore, a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, is an award-winning conservation photographer whose pictures regularly appear on the pages of National Geographic, among other publications.
On a late September day in 2007, three miles above the equator in southern Ecuador, I joined a team of scientists on a quest to find a small black frog. We hiked across windswept peaks under cotton-wool clouds billowing in a sapphire sky--the air so thin that it made my head pound and my lungs ache--in search of a creature no bigger than my thumb. The frog had not been seen in two decades; its disappearance had been as sudden as it was mysterious. The frog was posthumously named after the Quechua word for sadness, to lament the loss of frogs from cool streams and glassy pools across South America and beyond. It was my first search for a lost frog, but just one step of a bigger journey.
The following year in the shallows downstream I saw my first corpse. She was also a harlequin frog, but a different kind--with brilliant yellow on black, she was as beautiful in death as in life. Her stillness was broken only by the rhythmic wash of water on splayed limbs, and onto her back clung a male--oblivious to her passing--trying to mate. They were among the last of a species new to science. As her rigid limbs were squeezed into a jar filled with frogs like pickled eggs back at the lab in Quito, she took her place in a growing queue of species to be named and mourned. Her companion would join her just weeks later; both of their lives taken by a silent killer that was on the move, from Costa Rica to Ecuador and Australia to California.
The slow tug of nostalgia for lost amphibians punctuated by jolts of grief at the sight of dead frogs transformed a childhood passion, nurtured in the peat bogs of the Scottish highlands, into a global quest to unravel one of the most compelling mysteries of our time: what was happening to the amphibians?
My quest led me in 2010 to spearhead an unprecedented coordinated and global search for frogs, salamanders and the lesser-known caecilians. Over six months more than a hundred biologists slashed through thick jungle, waded up rivers and hiked remote mountain passes, from Borneo to Brazil, Colombia to Congo and Israel to India, faced with long odds and often miserable conditions and armed with boots, headlamps and dogged determination to find some of the most elusive creatures on earth. I was lucky enough to join some of these searches, to feel the pangs of disappointment and the thrill of discovery in some of the most remote and uncharted corners of the world.
On the following pages I invite you to join me on my journey as it unfolds in three parts. It begins in the back gardens and remote moors of Scotland, where my search for elusive frogs and newts in garden ponds to misty peat bogs ignited a passion that fueled a quest to unravel the mystery of vanishing frogs from Central and North America to Australia; their disappearance sometimes so rapid that not even a corpse was left to mark their existence. In the second part of the story we embark on a journey with scientists around the world in search of frogs and other amphibians not seen in decades, before taking a step back to consider, in the final part, what the successes and the failures mean in the grander scheme of things. It is a story of rediscovery, reinvention and hope; a story about the fine line between life and death, and what it is telling us about the sixth mass extinction on earth.
Foreword by George Meyer Prologue
Part One: Unravelling a Mystery
Part Two: The Search
Part Three: A Journey's End
Expeditions in search of lost frogs Index Acknowledgments