Photography: Golden Poison Frog in Colombia

Capturing one of the world’s deadliest creatures, the Golden Poison Frog (Phyllobates terribilis), in its natural habitat

The Chocó Rainforest in westernmost Colombia is a biodiversity hotspot, home to an incredible species: the Golden Poison Frog. Conservationists from Fundación ProAves are working with local people in this remote region to save the Endangered species from extinction

A single Golden Poison Frog holds enough poison to kill 10 people. Their skin is drenched in alkaloid poison (batrachotoxins) that prevent nerves from transmitting impulses, leaving the muscles in an inactive state of contraction – leading to heart failure. Death comes within minutes.

Despite this terrifying self-defense mechanism the frog is classified as Endangered, with its habitat being destroyed at an alarming rate by illegal gold-mining and illicit coca cultivation to produce cocaine.

In reaction to this threat, the Colombian conservation organisation Fundación ProAves gained international support from the World Land Trust and others to create the Rana Terriblis Reserve in early 2012. This marked the first time that this species had ever been protected.

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