Conservationists in Chile are celebrating after a group of critically endangered Loa water frogs produced 200 offspring in Santiago zoo.
Fourteen Loa water frogs (Telmatobius dankoi) were airlifted to the zoo in 2019 after they were found in a muddy puddle, all that was left of their habitat in Chile's Atacama desert.
Herpetologists managed to nurse 12 of them back to health.
Earlier this month, the frogs successfully mated.
The rescue mission was launched last year after herpetologist Andrés Charrier found that the stream outside the city of Calama - the only place where the Loa water frogs are known to live - had dried up.
The 14 specimens left in a muddy puddle were dehydrated and malnourished and with their habitat threatened by illegal water extraction for mining, agriculture and real estate development, the decision was taken to transfer them 1,500km to the south to Chile's National Zoo in the capital, Santiago.
The rescue of the 14 frogs received international praise and even caught the attention of Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who celebrated their safe transfer in an Instagram post.
Zoo Director Alejandra Montalba praised the team which looks after the frogs - and now their 200 offspring as well - for their meticulous work.
They had to replicate the exact conditions of the water... to keep them alive," she said.
Gabriel Lobos, who with Andrés Charrier has spent years studying the Loa water frogs, told local media that the challenge now was to restore the frogs' habitat to allow their return to the wild.
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