Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Alytes muletensis is among the most important species in Europe from a conservation viewpoint. The small occupied area, the low number of adults (between 500 and 1500 pairs in all, according to various estimates) and the evidence of a formerly much larger range - all bring this species to the highest rank in the list of animals deserving special protective measures. In fact, state and regional laws have forbidden the capture, keeping or killing of this species since 1980. Listed on the Red Data Book of Spanish Vertebrates as endangered, the species' rarity has also been acknowledged by all international conservation agreements signed by Spain. The habitat was put forward as a Biogenetic Reserve to the council of Europe, and the species has been subject to two recovery programs, one of them involving breeding of captive animals. In spite of that, the future of the species looks bleak. Dangers are too high, and populations too scarce and small to withstand a serious threat. So far, animals introduced by man have been the main enemies of the toad. Especially dangerous is the snake Natrix maura, an efficient predator of adults and tadpoles, introduced by man in Roman times. Competition for food with Rana perezi could be another factor of the past range decrease. Today, Alytes muletensis lives only in places which both these species, the snake and the frog, cannot reach. The heavy tourism in Mallorca and the increase of urban population have resulted in a strong need for water, to be taken from the only available place on the island, the mountains of the north. There are already proposals to dam some of the rivers where Alytes muletensis lives, and tap the water for urban needs. It may be that breeding in captivity, which has already allowed repopulating on some sites, will become, in the long term, the only hope for survival of the species (Paris 1997). Translocation of Alytes muletensis have had some measure of sucess (Seigel, 2001)
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