Already restricted in range, Wightman’s robber frog populations are in a continuing decline, estimated to be greater that 50 percent of the population over a ten year period (1). Threats to this species and its habitat include urban pollution, land clearing, forest burning and deforestation (1) (4).
However, evidence that this species is declining in even the best protected areas suggests that the most significant agent of decline is the fungal disease, chytridiomycosis (1) (5). This lethal disease is threatening amphibians worldwide, with high-elevation, stream-side species, such as Wightman’s robber frog, affected most severely (6). The spread of chytridiomycosis may be facilitated by rising temperatures and droughts associated with global climate change. During droughts, frogs are more likely to gather around remaining water sources, increasing the risk of infection (5). In addition, a further potential threat to Wightman’s robber frog associated with climate change is desiccation, particularly of juveniles, which occurs frequently during long dry periods (7).
Wightman’s robber frog populations have also been observed to decrease after hurricanes, which are a frequent destructive event in the Caribbean region (8).