Golden Toad Reliquary

The Golden Toad Reliquary is representative of the Sixth Great Extinction, which we are now in the midst of.  There have been five other great extinctions, the last one leading to the death of the dinosaurs, about 55 milliion years ago.  The End Permian Extinction led to the loss of 90-95% of life on earth.  The temperature increases that we are potentially experiencing may be greater, and faster than at the End Permian Extinction.  The Golden Toad of Costa Rica lived in the cloud forest, was about an inch long, with the males having a bright gold skin.  They would come out from under the trees where they lived in the spring and mate, with eggs laid into small ponds formed during the corresponding rainy season.  In the late 1980's there was a climate change induced El Nino that caused an early rainy season.  When the Golden Toads came out to mate, there were no ponds.....they had dried up.  One year, there had been a count of about 22,000 toads, the following year, one male. Then they were gone.  The Golden Toad has become a poster child for climate induced extinction.  It is likely that the Sixth Extinction started at the end of the last Glacial Period, about 20.000 years ago, as we humans killed off the megafauna for food.  The extinctdion continues, with combined factors---hunting, habitat loss, disease (fo example with frogs and toads around the world, the chytrid fungus, which impairs skin breathing), and of course climate change.

The Golden Toad Reliquary is built of Spanish Cedar, an abundant Central American wood, anodiized aluminum, glass, and the imagery by ceramist Karen Singer.  It stands about 4 1/2 feet high.