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Peter Lipton

The fabulous frogs that Peter Lipton (The Netherlands) photographed in Ecuador are often the last of their kind. Lab-workers take good care of them in ‘liferafts for frogs’ (balsa de los sapos). And when they die? Then their DNA is kept safe.

Balsa de los Sapos

Unesco named Ecuador the country with the greatest biodiversity in the world. The country has about 460 amphibian species, among them some very special frogs. But for how long?

The fabulous frogs that Peter Lipton (The Netherlands, 1982) photographed are threatened with extinction, their survival endangered by disease, deforestation and climate change. On top of that, frogs worldwide are dying en masse from a fungus, the Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, that originated in Southeast Asia and quickly spread across the world.

To halt this mass extinction, the Catholic University of Quito initiated the project Balsa de los sapos in 2005. Translated: ‘a life raft for the frogs’. The endangered frogs, some the last of their kind, are tended to in temperature-controlled, fungus-free life rafts. When the little animals unexpectedly die, their DNA is stored. Who knows, with the newest cloning techniques they might one day be brought back to life.

Peter Lipton graduated in 2011 from the Academy of Arts in Utrecht and worked for national newspapers de Volkskrant and NRC.Next as photographer, illustrator and image manipulator.

Read an interview with Peter Lipton here.