The Hula painted frog that was declared extinct in 1996 has been spotted again in Northern Israel. This is the first time in 50 years that this rare frog has been seen. The Hula Painted Frog has a dark belly with small white spots with other colors of a golden yellow-brown and rust fading into dark olive-grey and grey-black. It measures 6.3 cm and weighs just at 26 grams.
Only five Hula painted frogs have been collected. In 1940 four of them were found and then another one in 1950. At that time, the swamp was drained to stop malaria.
The person who found the Hula Painted Frog told the Ha’aretz newspaper about the find. Nature and Parks Authority warden Yoram Malka said, “I saw something jump that didn’t look familiar. 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.”
Omri Gal of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority said “It’s an amazing find, now we have a second chance to preserve the species.”
It is believed that the frog ate another frog in 1940 which leads to thinking that this frog species might be cannibalistic.
Habitat loss and fungal diseases are a blame for nearly a third of the world’s amphibian species extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources believes that the frog made it back after water was brought back to the Hula region for rehydration almost three years ago. This was to help reverse the ecological damage that was caused when the swamp was drained years ago.