This species is known only from the type locality, La Alegría-Sibundoy, at 2,400 m asl, in the eastern versant of the Cordillera Oriental in Provincia Sucumbíos, Ecuador (Coloma et al. 2010). Searches in the surroundings of the type locality at suitable elevations have not been able to locate this species (Coloma et al. 2010), suggesting that its extent of occurrence (EOO) is circumscribed and within 100 km2 and its occurrence is restricted to one threat-defined location.
Habitat and Ecology
It occurs in montane cloud forest (Coloma et al. 2010). There is no information on this species' ecology, although based on congener ecology it is expected to breed by larval development.
It is known only from the type series, collected in 1988 and comprised of two specimens. One intensive 40 person/hour survey conducted in 2009 at the type locality and nearby areas with suitable elevations yielded no new records (Coloma et al. 2010). Although it is difficult to infer this species' historical relative abundance based on the type series, given patterns observed in other congeners in montane areas and the results from the recent survey it is possible that this species may have experienced a population decline.
The habitat occupied by this species has been extensively deforested and replaced by intensive crop agriculture and livestock. The indiscriminate use of pesticides and urban growth are also other threats (Coloma and Duellman 2012). In addition, chytrid fungus has been found in a neighbouring area and climate change and other pathogens are suspected as possible threat factors (Coloma et al. 2010, Coloma and Duellman 2012).
It is not known to occur in any protected areas. Further surveys of its type locality and surrounding areas in northern Ecuador are urgently required to determine if this species is still extant.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Listed as Critically Endangered given that its extent of occurrence (EOO) is considered to be circumscribed to within 100 km2, it is only known from a single threat-defined location, and there is a continuing decline in its montane forest habitat in northern Ecuador.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, 2013. Atelopus orcesi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T18435530A18606988. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T18435530A18606988.en