The whole distribution of this species is within Santa Marta National Park in northern Colombia, between 1,500–2,900 m asl where its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 844 km2. The type locality is located in the Don Diego river basin in the northern slope of the Sierra Nevada and the paratypes were collected in Serranía de San Lorenzo, both localities from Department of Magdalena (Rivero 1963). It is also found in the Guatapuri river basin in the Department of Cesar.
Habitat and Ecology
This species occurs in sub-Andean and Andean forests (L.A. Rueda-Solano pers. comm. February 2017). There is no information about how this species can adapt to modifications on the habitat. However, other Atelopus species from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta can been found in open areas such as pastureland, but it is though that it uses this types of habitats to move between reproductive sites (L.A. Rueda-Solano pers. comm. 2016). It lays egg chains in streams, where the tadpoles also develop.
This species was considered to be common when it was last recorded in 1992 (L.A. Rueda-Solano pers. comm. February 2017). However, since there is doubt in the taxonomic status of the species, the population status and trend of this species is unclear (L.A. Rueda-Solano pers. comm. February 2017). There have been no further surveys within its range since then (L.A. Rueda-Solano pers. comm. February 2017). Due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, the population is suspected to be decreasing.
In 2004, the most serious risk to this species was considered to be chytridiomycosis, which has had a devastating impact on other high-altitude Atelopus species. Habitat fragmentation, primarily due to agriculture, and pollution, resulting from agricultural practices and the fumigation of crops were also major threats in 2004. Using models, Forero-Medina et al. (2011) suggest that climate change could lead to 14% of this species' range shifting to thermally isolated areas with unsuitable land cover. However, since there is no verification that the species is a mis-identification of Atelopus nahumae, there is no specific, confirmed information about threats affecting this species (L. Rueda-Solano pers. comm. 2017).
The whole distribution of the species is within Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park, which is large and well protected.
Disease management and captive-breeding programmes were recommended in 2004. However, this conservation need is not the main priority until the taxonomic status and habitat needs of the species are clarified (L. Rueda-Solano and F.L. Meza-Joya pers. comm. February 2017).
Surveys, especially to the type locality, are needed to determine the current taxonomic and population status of this species.
Red List Status
Data Deficient (DD)
Listed as Data Deficient because there is too much uncertainty around the taxonomic status of this species.
The species may be a misidentification of Atelopus nahumae (L.A. Rueda-Solano pers. comm. February 2017). The description of the paratopotypes in Rivero (1963) show no difference with A. nahumae, which was described by Ruíz-Carranza et al. (1994) and this species is also found in Serranía de San Lorenzo (L.A. Rueda-Solano pers. comm. February 2017).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Atelopus walkeri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T54562A49538701. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T54562A49538701.en