TWM's "Hynobius" Conservation Program

Protect the smiling alpine elves and preserve memories of the Ice Age

Carrying the memory of the Ice Age, Hynobius fights against the rising temperature on the high mountains of Taiwan, showing the toughness of life through the petite body. TWM hopes to give full play to the spirit of "open possible" to support the difficult and dangerous middle and high-altitude field research with actions, and at the same time respond to climate change and protect the smiling alpine elves.

(Hynobius sonani, image source: Professor Ju, Yu-Ten's team)

(Hynobius fucus, image source: Professor Ju, Yu-Ten's team)

Hynobius, also known as the smiling alpine elf, currently has five native species in Taiwan - Hynobius fucus, Hynobius formosanus, Hynobius glacialis, Hynobius sonani, and Hynobius arisanensis. They migrated to Taiwan during the Ice Age and are distributed at the source of streams with humidity and low temperature 8oC to below 16oC in the middle and high-altitude mountain areas from 1300 meters to 3800 meters above sea level. Hynobius, which is afraid of heat, is a species bearing the brunt of global warming facing the gradual rise of its habitat baseline in the process of climate change. Due to the discontinuous habitat, it evolves independently and is rare in number. The Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) listed Hynobius formosanus and Hynobius sonani as endangered species (EN). Hynobius glacialis and Hynobius fucus were unable to be presented in the list due to survey difficulties and insufficient data. The 2017 Red List of Amphibians of Taiwan listed Hynobius glacialis as critical endangered (CR); Hynobius formosanus, Hynobius fucus and Hynobius sonani were listed as endangered (EN); Hynobius arisanensis was listed as vulnerable (VU) species, it is obvious that Hynobius in Taiwan is in urgent need of conservation and research.

(Professor Ju, Yu-Ten from National Taiwan University has long been involved in the research on Hynobius conservation, image source: Barley Productions)

Taiwan Mobile sees the lack of research resources and the threat of climate change to Hynobius through the work of ecological documentary director Mai Chueh-Ming - "Good Morni MIT". The team of Professor Ju, Yu-Ten, Department of Animal Sciences and Technology, National Taiwan University, has been commissioned by Taroko, Shei-Pa and Yushan National Parks for a long time to conduct research on the cross-domain phylogenetic geography, habitat preference and life history of five species of Hynobius in Taiwan. TWM has also joined hands, hoping to promote the research and development of Hynobius in Taiwan through providing resources. The research commissioned by the national parks successfully observed the spawning, hatching and metamorphosis process of Hynobius in captivity in its natural habitat. In order to deepen the research results, TWM assisted in strengthening the experimental equipment for captive breeding in the habitat and conducted early life history research on two species of Hynobius, hoping to increase the hatching rate of Hynobius fucus in the captive tanks of Shei-Pa National Park to 95% and survival rate to 30% by 2025; maintain 100% hatching rate of Hynobius arisanensis in the captive tanks of Yushan National Park, and increase the survival rate to 60%.