Six species of frog found in Ecuador with one named Pristimantis resistance in honour of slain activist

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Six new species of rain frogs have been discovered in Ecuador, with one named after a murdered activist.

Scientists found the Pristimantis frogs in two national parks on the eastern slopes of the Ecuadorean Andes.

The discovery was made by Ecuadorean herpetologists Jhael Ortega, Jorge Brito and Santiago Ron, in the Llanganates and Sangay parks.

The scientists have recommended that the frogs be added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list of threatened species.

The new species of frogs have been named Pristimantis anaiae, tamia, glendae, kunam, resistencia and venegasi.

There are more than 570 Pristimantis species in South America, according to Ecuador’s environment ministry, mainly in Colombia and Ecuador, and many more are believed to yet be found.

One of the previously-discovered species is called Pristimantis jamescameroni after Hollywood director and environmental campaigner James Cameron. It was found in 2012 in Venezuela.

Describing how they came up with the names for the six new species, Mr Ron explained in a tweet that they had decided to name one of them resistencia – meaning resistance – in honour of activist Alba Bermeo.

Ms Bermeo was just 24 when she was shot dead in the early hours of Saturday morning after opposing gold mining in the Ecuadorean province of Azuay. She was five months pregnant, reports say.

Mr Ron also said: “During the last 10 years, Latin America has been the region most dangerous for environmental defenders with 1180 people killed, 68% of the world total. The murders were mostly perpetrated by mining companies.”

According to a report by the advocacy group Global Witness, more environmentalists were killed in Latin America than in any other region last year.

The scientists’ research on their discovery of the frogs has been published in the scientific journal PeerJ.

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