This species is known from six geographical localities in eastern San Martín Region and one locality in southwestern Loreto Region, Peru. Each geographical locality is herein considered an individual threat-defined location. This frog is found between 200-800 m asl. Its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 12,356 km2, although it is possible that this species may be more widespread than currently understood as there are still areas of these two regions that have not yet been surveyed. However, this frog does appear to be restricted to areas adjacent to small and slow streams (Twomey and Brown 2009), which are unevenly distributed throughout the two regions.
Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits old growth, secondary and riparian lowland tropical forest. It is active near small streams, and tadpoles appear to be deposited in slow-moving streams (Twomey and Brown 2009). It appears to be restricted to habitats in the vicinity of small and slow-moving streams (Twomey and Brown 2009).
The species can be regionally abundant throughout the Huallaga Canyon with dozens of individuals being observed in a few hours, whereas in other parts of its distribution, in the central range in Cordillera Escellera (such as the Cainarachi valley), it can be quite rare with only a few individuals found after several days of extensive surveying (J. Brown pers. comm. April 2017). Approximately 30 individuals were found over 20 person/day surveys between July 2005 and June 2007 (von May et al. 2008). An additional single individual was recorded in 2005 (D. Edmond pers. comm. in Amphibian Red List Assessment Forum April 2013). Due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, the population is suspected to be decreasing. No further population information is available for this species, although a decline in the number of mature individuals is suspected in view of illegal export, and therefore harvesting activities.
Its lowland rainforest habitat is being affected by encroaching agriculture due to farmers clearing new farms (Twomey and Brown 2009). Since 2008, there has been an increase in commercial large scale agriculture activities (palm plantations) throughout San Martín (J. Brown pers. comm. April 2017). It is also being illegally harvested and exported.
This species occurs within Cordillera Azul National Park and Cordillera Escalera Regional Conservation Area (J. Brown pers. comm. April 2017). It is included in Appendix II of CITES, in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with the species' survival.
Land protection in the areas where this species occurs is needed, as is improved enforcement for preventing its illegal collection and export on both a national and international level.
Further research is needed into its distribution, population status, ecology, and threats, including harvest levels. Additionally, targeted surveys are required to determine if this species occurs more widely within Cordillera Azul National Park.
Red List Status
Listed as Vulnerable given that its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 12,356 km2, it occurs in seven threat-defined locations, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its available habitat in northern Peru, as well as a suspected decline in the number of mature individuals due to illegal collection and export for the pet trade.
This species is very similar to Ameerega petersi. There might be a need to re-examine the relationship between these two taxa.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2018. Ameerega pongoensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T55232A89202206. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T55232A89202206.en