This species is known from 570–1,220 m Asl in Salavan and Xieng Khouang Provinces, Lao PDR (Stuart 2005: as Rana chapaensis), and throughout much of Viet Nam between Lao Cai Province in the north and Dak Lak Province in the south (Nguyen et al. 2009, Ziegler et al. 2014, Luu et al. 2014a, Luu et al. 2014b). These are unlikely to represent the actual limits of the species' range as similar habitat to that in its known localities occur throughout many adjacent parts of Lao PDR as well as in northeastern Cambodia. Further surveys in these areas may uncover its presence there, therefore its range has been projected beyond known sites to include areas of suitable habitat. The species' estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) is 408,742 km2, which consists of four threat-defined locations.
Habitat and Ecology
This species is associated with evergreen forest (Bourret 1942) and has been observed mostly in and around pools (Bourret 1942) and slow-moving, muddy streams (Stuart 2005). Its reproductive biology is not well-known, but it presumably deposits eggs in nests on the muddy banks of still to slowly-flowing water bodies, into which the larvae probably flow upon hatching (as is the case with other Babina for which the reproductive strategy is known).
The size and trends of this species' population are not known, but it has been detected in a number of surveys including Bourret (1942), Stuart (2005) (as Rana chapaensis), Nguyen et al. (2009), Ziegler et al. (2014), Luu et al. (2014a) and Luu et al. (2014b). It was described as locally common in Sa Pa, northern Viet Nam, in 1937 (Bourret 1942), and it is encountered relatively frequently during the breeding season (S. Swan and T. Nguyen pers. comm. 2004). Forest loss associated with expanding agriculture throughout parts of the species' range (Meyfroidt and Lambin 2008, Sodhi et al. 2009, Meyfroidt et al. 2013) is likely causing some declines in this species' population.
Habitat loss and degradation, particularly as a result of the conversion of forest to agricultural land to grow cash crop plantations (eg. rubber, coffee and tea) is an ongoing threat throughout much of this species' range (Meyfroidt and Lambin, 2008, Sodhi et al. 2009, Meyfroidt et al. 2013), and is likely causing population declines outside of very well protected areas. The historic burning and subsequent ecosystem conversion of high elevation areas in Lao Cai, which are thought to have been previously covered in forest (Nguyen and Harder 1996), is likely to have disturbed this species. Habitat degradation associated with tourism is ongoing in this part of northern Viet Nam (Rowley et al. 2013) and the construction of a cable car from Sa Pa to the summit of Mount Fansipan (T. Nguyen pers. comm. 2015) may affect the species in this part of its range. Observations of the species in areas affected by grazing livestock and urban development (Bourret 1942) may indicate tolerance to certain levels of anthropogenic disturbance, however the extent of this is unknown and warrants investigation. This species is harvested for use as a food source in Lao PDR (Stuart 2005), but whether this occurs at such a rate that it constitutes a threat to the species' survival is not known.
In Lao PDR, this species is known from Xe Sap National Biodiversity Conservation Area (Stuart 2005). In Viet Nam it has been recorded in Thuong Tien Nature Reserve (Luu et al. 2014a) and Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park (Luu et al. 2014b). Its predicted range also occupies a number of other protected areas in both Viet Nam and Lao PDR.
Addressing the lack of data is the first step towards ensuring this species' long-term persistence.
Further research on its true distribution, threats, harvest rates, and the size and trends of its population would inform conservation decisions.
Red List Status
Least Concern (LC)
Listed as Least Concern as this species is relatively widespread, with an estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) of 408,742 km2.
Specimens from Viet Nam that are currently allocated to Babina lini might actually be B. chapaensis. This species was previously believed to have been found in Thailand and Xieng Khouang Province in Lao People's Democratic Republic, however the population has now been confirmed as belonging to Babina lini (Chuaynkern et al. 2010).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Babina chapaensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T58570A113954874. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T58570A113954874.en .Downloaded on 18 January 2019