SANTO DOMINGO – More than 80 percent of amphibians on Hispaniola, the Caribbean island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti, are in danger of extinction, according to experts attending a conference in Santo Domingo.
The risk to the island’s 74 amphibian species, all but three of them native to Hispaniola, is “grave,” the Philadelphia Zoo’s Carlos Martinez Rivera told Efe, blaming rampant deforestation and the failure to enforce bans on farming in protected areas.
“This is an economic, social and political problem,” Martinez Rivera said.
The conference, “Partners for the conservation of amphibians and reptiles in the Caribbean,” has brought together experts from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, the United States and the United Kingdom to share experiences and research findings.
Thirteen of the 17 amphibians species present in the southwestern Dominican area of Bahoruco face a serious risk of extinction, Martinez Rivera said.
In Haiti the situation is even worse, as all endemic amphibian species are in danger, he said.
Pedro Galvis, adviser on biodiversity for mining company Barrick Pueblo, which has operations in the northeastern Dominican province of Sanchez Ramirez, told Efe that amphibians all over the world are in danger of extinction due to changes in their habitat.
The conference will mark the formal launch of Caribbean Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, or Carib-PARC, the region’s first such alliance, Galvis said.