Sri Lanka contains a highly diverse, endemic, and threatened amphibian population - studies have so far identified 103 species. Among the vulnerable species, 35 are critically endangered and endemic. In fact 21 endemic species are already extinct due to numerous threats, particularly habitat loss. It is estimated that over 90% of the most important amphibian habitat in Sri Lanka, original moist tropical forest, has been destroyed.
Interest in the classification of amphibians has seen a rise in the indiscriminate collection of animals in the hope of locating new species. Such activity has a negative impact on the sustainability of local populations and has been linked to the extinction, and increasingly threatened status, of many amphibian species.
In response, there have been calls for a new nondestructive, field-based research approach, which can help to prevent further extinctions and inform conservation efforts. In 2008, with the support of the National Geographic Society (NGS), we pioneered a unique research project to develop non-destructive amphibian sampling techniques.