03/27/2014 12:49 EDT | Updated 05/27/2014 05:59 EDT

Golden frogs get busy at Vancouver Aquarium in race against extinction

VANCOUVER - A species of frog thought to be extinct in the wild is getting a leg up in Vancouver.

Scientists at the Vancouver Aquarium say critically endangered Panamanian golden frogs have been bred at the facility for the first time in its history.

The breeding program is part of a world-wide effort to preserve the species, which has been almost wiped out over the last decade.

Habitat loss and decimation by a deadly type of fungus are two reasons for the decline, according to Project Golden Frog, which was launched in 1998 to save the dwindling species.

Panamanian golden frogs are known for their bright golden colours and distinct wave used in mating.

The creature, a species of toad, is no larger than seven centimetres and lived almost exclusively in freshwater streams of Panama's high elevation cloud and rain forests.