Hula Painted Frog - Back from Beyond Extinction

Hula Painted Frog - Back from Beyond Extinction

First Frog Sighting Since the 1950s

Just this past November, a sighting of the Hula Painted Frog made big news. With good reason to believe this species had become extinct, the lone female literally jumped into view. Also known as Israel Painted Frogs, this species once thrived in and around the marshes of Lake Hula.

The story behind the Hula frog sighting is a fascinating one that involves decades of events, both good and bad. By the mid-1950s, malaria was an issue that Israeli officials hoped to resolve by draining the lake. In the process, however, the ecosystem took a real hit and the imbalance led to many species heading toward the brink of extinction. While it may have seemed to be a wise move for officials, conservationists knew otherwise: it was the frogs in the area that consumed malaria-bearing mosquitoes.

Protesters began making their pitch, but it would be another forty years before those in charge would listen. As they allowed a re-filling of the Lake Hula area, conservationists remained hopeful that this little frog might have survived after all. That was in the mid-1990s, and by then the species was declared to be extinct by the IUCN (Union for the Conservation of Nature).

Israel defied this decree and continued to list the Hula Painted Frog as endangered. Year after year, expeditions would patrol the area in search of frogs with no luck. Finally, a warden for the Israel Nature and Parks authority, on routine patrol, spotted a single Hula Painted Frog. A few days later, a second frog was spotted near the same location.

The little frog is a fine testament to the value of re-establishing lost ecosystems. As well as its ability to survive in spite of human destruction.