You Can Now Buy Rare Frogs From Ecuador to Save Them From Poachers

Imbabura Treefrog
Imbabura Treefrog | © Santiago Ron/Flickr
Harry Stewart

Exotic South American frogs fetch poachers a pretty penny. So much so, that the illicit trade has brought many species to extinction. Thankfully, an environmentally-conscious Ecuadorian firm has come up with a novel approach to tackle the nefarious industry – by undercutting the poachers.

The innovative scientific company known as Wikiri has established a giant frog farm in a town called San Rafael, not far from the Ecuadorian capital of Quito. Here, some 12 species of exotic frogs are being born in laboratory conditions and raised in a series of high-tech vivariums. These colorful amphibians are then shipped off to the U.S.A, Europe and Japan for as much as US$600 each.

Ameerega bilinguis

The idea is that by selling the frogs for less than their black market price, buyers are more likely to shun illegal traders for a cheaper and more ethical alternative. Although the concept is new, it seems to be working, with some 500 frogs per year leaving the facility for the homes of collectors around the world.

Wikiri also funds an amphibian research and preservation facility known as the Jambatu Center. Here, researchers work tirelessly on some 40 species of South American frogs to discover new ways of breeding them in captivity. A recent triumph was the successful revival of the native Black Amphibian Frog, a species that was thought to be extinct as recently as last year.

Quito’s Rober Frog

Ecuador is extremely diverse in terms of its amphibian wildlife. This tiny little nation in the corner of the continent is home to around 600 species of frogs, at least half of which can only be found in the South American country. Sadly, due to the destruction of native habitats, pollution, climate change and most notably illegal poaching, at least 186 of those are currently at risk.

The illegal wildlife trade is a huge worldwide industry thought to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year in the Amazon alone. Ecuador, as with many countries around the world, have completely banned the capture and sale of their native fauna. But that hasn’t stopped the prolific poaching of many of their endangered species, a profitable industry that is all too tempting for some of Ecuador’s impoverished inhabitants.

But there is hope on the horizon. If Wikiri’s new business model continues to succeed in undercutting illegal poachers, a new ‘ethical bio-trade’ industry might evolve as a solution to the notoriously harmful black market wildlife trade.

Poison dart frog
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.