Nature’s Witness: Private Moment

"Embracing" frogs—and the challenges they face

  • Photograph by Robin Moore
  • PhotoZone
  • Oct 01, 2019

CAUGHT IN THE ACT, an emerald glass frog grips his mate, holding on to fertilize her eggs as she releases them—a form of mating called amplexus, from the Latin for “embrace.” To spot the pair, biologist-turned-photographer Robin Moore donned a headlamp and walked along streams in Colombia’s Chocó rain forest at night, listening for frog calls, then tracking the sound.

Photographer Robin Moore headshot

For Moore, the power of the image lies in the winking eyes. “I hope that when someone looks at this image they feel a connection with these incredible animals, and I hope that translates into empathy for the plight of amphibians like these around the world and a desire to protect not only the frogs but the forests they call home.”

The need for such protection is more critical than ever as disease and habitat loss put amphibians at risk. “At a time when we are facing existential threats to our planet, with a million species at risk of extinction, it can feel overwhelming,” says Moore. “Connecting with individual animals on an emotional level is extremely important—and photography has the power to help us do this.”

More from National Wildlife magazine and the National Wildlife Federation:

Five Tips to Help Frogs and Toads in Your Yard »
Nature's Witnesses: Powerful images can inspire conservation »
Art of the Possible »
See Last Issue's Nature's Witness »

Get Involved

Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

Learn More
Regional Centers and Affiliates