This species is known only from the northwestern and western slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Serranía de San Lorenzo and Serranía de Cebolleta), in the department of Magdalena, northern Colombia, from 1,400–3,900 m Asl (Rueda-Solano and Vargas-Salinas 2010, F. Vargas-Salinas and L.A. Rueda-Solano pers. comm. 2016). It may occur more widely than current records suggest, but is likely to be restricted to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The EOO of its current range is 878 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
This species occurs in cloud forest habitats, where wet montane habitats are surrounded by dry forests in adjacent lowlands (Rueda-Solano and Vargas-Salinas 2010). It is is more abundant in pine plantation (Pinus patula) than in native secondary forest (Martinez-Banos et al. 2011, Pacheco-Florez and Ramirez-Pinilla 2014) and it is found also in the páramo habitat, dominated by rocky and shrub vegetation (Rueda-Solano and Vargas-Salinas 2010). It is both nocturnal and diurnal, breeding takes place throughout most of the year and is by direct development (Pacheco-Florez and Ramirez-Pinilla 2014).
It is a very abundant species which can be easily heard calling during daylight hours, especially in rainy periods (F. Vargas-Salinas and L.A. Rueda-Solano pers. comm. 2016). Its population is presumed to be stable (L.A. Rueda-Solano pers. comm. 2016).
The major threat is habitat loss and destruction, mainly due to livestock farming, given that this is a fossorial species and cattle compacts the ground (L. Bravo pers. comm. 2016). This threat is present in only a small fraction of the species' range in paramos and some forest areas at mid altitude (L.A. Rueda-Solano y L. Bravo pers. comm. 2016).
Its range includes Parque Nacional Natural Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and Reserva Natural de la Sociedad Civil 'Las Aves El Dorado'. No conservation actions are currently in place for this species.
As this species is sensitive to the impact of soil compaction, it is recommended that management of the protected areas in which it occurs includes areas where the habitat remains undisturbed by cattle.
Studies on its population size, distribution and trends, life history and ecology, and threats are needed.
Red List Status
This species has been found to be very abundant where it has been recorded and seems to be resilient to a degree of habitat disturbance as it can live in plantations. However, it has a restricted range in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia, an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 878 km2 and there is continuing decline in the quality of the habitat in small portions of its range, permitting an estimate of between 2–9 threat-defined locations. As such, it is listed as Endangered.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Geobatrachus walkeri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T57081A85890786. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T57081A85890786.en .Downloaded on 19 January 2019