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'Extinct' frog hops back into northern Israel

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[November 18, 2011]  JERUSALEM (AP) -- A frog species believed to be extinct has hopped back into sight in northern Israel.

Omri Gal of Israel's Nature and Parks Authority said Thursday the Hula Painted Frog was seen for the first time in 50 years this week. He said it was declared extinct.

Gal said, "It's an amazing find, now we have a second chance to preserve the species."

The frog is native to the Hula Valley, a swamp drained in the 1950s to stop malaria.

Aquatic ecologist Dana Milstein says the frog was rare even before, and little is known about it. In the 1940s, a specimen ate a second frog, leading to speculation the species is cannibalistic.

She credited rehydration of the area for the frog sighting and said more are likely in the reserve.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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