The Atewa Range Forest Reserve is Ghana's most biodiverse -- and most threatened -- wilderness area. There is wide consensus among scientists and NGO's that the reserve should be protected as Ghana's 6th national park: the Atewa Hills National Park. SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana is working with domestic and international organizations to make the Atewa Hills National Park a reality. Located near Kibi, halfway between Accra and Kumasi, the Atewa Range Forest Reserve is home to the critically endangered Togo Slippery Frog (Conraua derooi; a close relative of the world's largest frog, the Goliath Frog Conraua goliath). Numerous other amphibian species as well as a diverse non-amphibious flora and fauna live in the reserve.The Atewa forest is listed as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International and is home to 700+ butterfly species.
As recently as 2007, the multi-national ALCOA was seeking permission to conduct mountaintop-removal bauxite mining on three mountains in the reserve. There is continuous threat from other mining companies, many based in China, as well as the Romanian company Vimetco. Mountaintop removal mining destroys habitat and clogs the streams and rivers below with silt and the byproduct chemicals emerging from the mine. As with the vast majority of Ghana's forest reserves, legal logging takes place on the land, though the participant companies regularly harvest more trees than they were allotted, and seldom employ environmentally-responsible forestry practices.
Illegal logging is also rampant in the park, and locals eat the critically endangered Togo Slippery Frogs. SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana plans to educate the local people about the ecological value of the Atewa Hills. We will also be building capacity in the surrounding villages: training the locals in beekeeping and mushroom farming so they have new income and food sources that reduce their need to exploit the reserve.
The Atewa Hills are the headwaters for the Densu, Ayensu and Birim rivers, which supply drinking water to about 5 million Ghanaians. The rivers will forever be degraded if Atewa is mined, preventing it from carrying out its ecosystem services.
Creating the Atewa Hills National Park is SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana's most important current campaign. Success would be a huge victory for Ghana's frogs, Ghana's people and for worldwide environmental conservation efforts, but it will not be easy: there are many influential companies and individuals who profit off of the continued exploitation of the Atewa Range Forest Reserve and will work diligently to block the new national park. Fortunately, the will of the people can overcome the existent power structure if the people are dedicated and well-organized. We at SAVE THE FROGS! & SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana will be doing our part, and we welcome your financial assistance and volunteer time.
Conference to Protect Ghana's Atewa Hills Forest Reserve
On November 18th and 19th 2013, the Coalition of NGOs against the Mining of Atewa (CONAMA) held an international conference in Accra, Ghana. The conference was on the theme "Atewa Forest, a Heritage at a Crossroad. What Future?". In collaboration with international conservation groups such as IUCN, A Rocha International and SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana, this summit aimed at ensuring the unprotected Atewa Forest is converted to Atewa Hills National Park. There were petition signings to seek the government's commitment towards banning the mining of this biodiverse area. The conference was open to all interested groups and individuals from both Ghana and overseas. SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana, a key member of CONAMA, ran an informational table to showcase our good works done so far to promote the cause of Atewa. The group CONAMA is made up of nine local NGOs: SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana, A Rocha Ghana, Forest Watch Ghana, WACAM, Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis, IWWA, Conservation Alliance, HERP Ghana, Rainforest Friends Ghana and RAFFS/G.
"I have done some data collection in the reserve (2010-2011) and can bet on it that it is almost GONE as most parts of the reserve have been drastically changed. The Apapam and Asikam areas are either bedevilled by mining or illegal logging. It is so sad to see the frogs go!"
-- Deikumah Justus, Ph.D. Candidate in Landscape Ecology & Conservation, University of Queensland, Australia
Congratulations to SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Executive Director Gilbert Adum and his team for winning £2,000 ($3,000) from the British Ecological Society (BES). SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana UCAES Chaptermembers and other Ghanaian ecologistswill use these funds to assist in the conservation of the Critically Endangered Togo Slippery Frog (Conraua derooi) and other frogs at the Atewa Forest.
SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana will organize field courses and workshops on the ecology, survey and monitoring techniques of the frogs and also train ecologists in effective communication skills for targeted local audiences. SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana will also establish three of its junior chapters in local schools, and educate the school children to help ensure they grow up with respect and appreciation for their natural heritage.
Meanwhile, SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana continues to rally support across Ghana and internationally to get Government to rescind its decision to mine the Atewa Forest for bauxite, and to permanently protect the forest as the Atewa Hills National Park. The Atewa Forest is currently unprotected, and the Critically Endangered Togo Slippery Frogs (as well as over 700+ butterfly species that live there) are under serious threat from illegal logging, mountaintop removal mining and people hunting the frogs for food. SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana is grateful to BES for their assistance, which allows us to SAVE THE FROGS!
On the 21st of June, Atewa (the only home to the Togo slippery frog) celebrated its first ever Save The Frogs Day. It was on the theme "THE NEED TO PROTECT THE ATEWA FOREST FROM MINING". The Atewa Range Forest Reserve is also Ghana's most biodiverse area which holds the key to many unsolved scientific problems yet, it is the most threatened wilderness area. Events were held at Kwabeng, the Atewa district capital. In attendance were about 150 participants including Atewa school children and teachers. Representatives from the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) gave a talk on the importance of the Atewa Forest. SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana team heightened the need to protect the Critically Endangered Togo Slippery Frog (Conraua derooi) and the entire Atewa biodiversity from both local small-scale mining and Government's interest in mining the forest. The local people learnt more about the value of their own forest, which had been demarcated by their ancestors to provide goods and services for the people of Atiwa and mankind. Kids also entertained participants to some (froggy) azonto dance, the latest dance craze in Ghana.
We need your financial support to kick our Atewa Hills National Park campaign into high gear. Please place a tax-deductible contribution to SAVE THE FROGS! USA and then send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org asking us to direct the donation towards the Atewa Hills campaign. Thanks!
SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Executive Director Gilbert Adum and Togo Slippery Frog art.
We salute hese fantastic supporters who helped us raise over $500 to support our Atewa Hills efforts!
-- Vincent Connolly
-- Marion Anstis
-- Madison Rosati and Crystal Matthews
-- Peter Schweinsberg
-- Matt "Big Frog" Mansfield & Phyllomedusa
-- Dr. Emmett Blankenship
-- Colin Barclay
-- Maxine Kingsbury
-- Ryan Woods
-- Sonya Newlyn
-- Mary Croft
-- Arlene Tompkins
-- Hiediliza Tan
-- Janet and Bruce Doyle
-- Patricia Matejcek
-- Jiri Stencl
-- Ruth C Cassidy
-- Kathy Shimata
-- Cheryl Hopper
-- Gayle Janzen
-- Jerry Esterly
-- Suzie Russell
-- Wesley Anderson
-- David Bibo
-- Louisa Jaskulski
-- Daniel Shively