This species is endemic to the Bale Mountains at 2,500-4,000 m asl, Ethiopia. Taking range as a proxy for extent of occurrence (EOO), this is estimated to be about 630 km
Habitat and Ecology
This species spans the transition from Schefflera-Hagenia-Hypericum forest to Afro-alpine moorland and it also occurs in moderately disturbed habitat (Gower et al. 2012). It is most commonly found under rotting wood and rocks (Largen and Spawls 2010). Egg strings have been found in April amongst moist herbaceous vegetation where development proceeds to metamorphosis through a terrestrial larval stage (Grandison 1978). Clutch size is less than 32 eggs (Grandison 1978).
During the period 1971-1986, it was found to be common at several sites within its very limited geographical range. Surveys from 2006-2011 have found evidence of significant decline in abundance (Gower et al. 2013). Its population is not considered to be severely fragmented.
The main observed threat is ongoing human-induced habitat deterioration through cattle grazing and deforestation from firewood collection, fencing and settlement development (Gower et al. 2013). Chytrid fungus occurs in high prevalence in amphibians in highland Ethiopia and has been detected on this species, although its impact is not known (Gower et al. 2012).
A large part of this species' range lies within the Bale Mountains National Park (Gower et al. 2013), although this protected area is not formally gazetted. There is a long-running conservation programme in the Bale Mountains National Park (Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority and Frankfurt Zoological Society; Frankfurt Zoological Society 2007), but there is a lack of amphibian-specific activities and there is increasing encroachment within the Park, so improved park management is needed (Frankfurt Zoological Society 2007, Gower et al. 2013). Additional actions needed include the protection of remaining montane forest habitats from subsistence exploitation. It is listed in Appendix I of CITES, though it is not present in international trade. More information is needed on this species' distribution, population status, natural history and the potential effects of chytrid fungus. Population monitoring is also needed in view of recent declines.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, 2013. Altiphrynoides malcolmi. In: IUCN 2014