If you're planning a visit soon to New Bedford's Buttonwood Park Zoo, expect to be greeted by some new faces when you enter.
Five female Panamanian golden frogs are now calling Buttonwood Park's admission building home, in one of the terrarium habitats in the lobby. They're right next to another terrarium with four different species of poison dart frogs.
The Panamanian golden frogs, which are considered to be critically endangered, arrived from the Nashville Zoo in the winter of last year. These frogs use a unique type of sign language, called semaphore, to communicate. They "wave" their hands to defend territory, attract a mate or greet one another.
These frogs haven't been seen in the wild since 2009, the zoo said in a news release.
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“Conservation is at the heart of what we do here at BPZOO,” Director of Conservation and Community Engagement Josh Thompson said in the release. "Amphibians are disappearing from our planet at an alarming rate – one that far exceeds the rates of birds and mammals – and this worldwide decline is so dramatic, it is being referred to as the Global Amphibian Crisis."
"BPZOO is participating in a Species Survival Plan program, or SSP, and hopes to receive a breeding recommendation in the future so that we can contribute to the assurance population of these toads in human care and avoid the path to extinction," Thomson continued.
Admission is not required to view the Panamanian golden frogs.