Most Wanted Toad Found

A colorful toad that has been missing for 87 years is discovered in Malaysia.

By | July 15, 2011

INDRANEIL DAS / CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL

The Borneo rainbow toad (also known as the Sambas stream toad) was spotted in the Malaysian state of Sarawak—87 years since its last documented appearance, Wired Science reports. The discovery was no coincidence. Last summer, Indraneil Das of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and his team searched the Gunung Penrissen mountains for months before finally finding the elusive amphibian. It was only after the researchers moved up to a higher elevation that graduate student Pui Yong Min spotted the toad partway up a tree.

When it was last seen in 1924 in Borneo, its European discoverers had drawn simple black-and-white sketches of the colorful toad. Then, after 10 years missing in action, the toad was added to Conservation International's World’s Top 10 Most Wanted Lost Frogs list. The new discovery marks the second of the Top 10 missing species to be found, and Das's team took the opportunity to take the first photographs of the rare animal. Altogether, the researchers found three individuals—an adult female, an adult male and a juvenile. “They remind us that nature still holds precious secrets that we are still uncovering, which is why targeted protection and conservation is so important,” Das said in a press release.

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