Ola from Belo Horizonte, Brazil!
I arrived last night in Brazil and I met such an amazing toad that I decided to send you photos right away and tell you why I am in Brazil.
Brazil is home to 1,036 known amphibian species — 14% of the world’s amphibian biodiversity! That’s more than any other country on the planet. Brazil is also home to the Atlantic Rainforest and the majority of the Amazon Basin — both threatened by rampant environmental destruction. And Brazil has many amphibian biologists interested in SAVE THE FROGS! and our methods of translating science into concrete actions for the betterment of amphibians and humans. So Brazil is an extremely important place for amphibian conservation and for launching SAVE THE FROGS! activities.
I found my first amphibian within one minute of stepping outside my very first night in the country! Could it be an omen that I will find and save many frogs while here in Brazil? I hope so! This beautiful toad is Rhinella icterica, whose indigenous name is Cururu, which refers to its melodious call.
This toad has aposematic coloration…in other words it has an amazing system of defense against predators. Aside from its usual toad toxins concentrated in its paratoid glands, it has coloration on its back resembling two large eyes, which make the toad appear to be a large animal to be avoided. In essence, its backside coloration says “BACK OFF!”
Saving The Frogs In Brazil
I will be in Brazil for the next two months, improving my Portuguese, photographing amphibians, and giving presentations.
To celebrate the 9th Annual Save The Frogs Day (9th Annual Save The Frogs Day), I have several days of events scheduled in São Paulo state:
A presentation to graduate students of ecology at the State University of Campinas, Institute of Biology (Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Instituto de Biologia)
A presentation at the São Paulo Zoo
A presentation to kids at a school in Campinas
Searching for endangered frogs outside Campinas
These activities are being organized by the Natural History Lab of Brazilian Amphibians (Laboratório de História Natural de Anfíbios Brasileiros).
This weekend I meet with amphibian biologists from the Laboratório de Ecologia Evolutiva de Anfíbios e Répteis in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais state and I expect that we will organize a variety of educational activities here in Minas Gerais…which I will be post photos of shortly!
Logo designed by Raoni Rebouças and inspired by Phrynomedusa appendiculata, an extinct species that lived in the Atlantic Rainforest; most of the Phrynomedusa genus is gone unfortunately.
Funding My Frog Saving Activities In Brazil
I bought my ticket to Brazil with my own money. Right now I seek your generous assistance to pay for the cost of:
My Brazil Entry Visa ($210)
Yes it was that expensive, “in reciprocity for similar fees charged by the USA to Brazil citizens”.
My Transportation Expenses ($500)
Brazil is a very large country. I need to be able to get to all my frog presentations and field sites.
Portuguese Lessons ($500)
One hour per day, five days per week, for one month. My ability to speak Portuguese will have a direct impact on the future of SAVE THE FROGS! in Brazil, the most amphibian diverse country on Earth. Have you ever wondered why SAVE THE FROGS! has so many activities throughout the Spanish-speaking world? It’s in large part because 18 years ago I taught myself Spanish and have continued my Spanish studies ever since. Speaking the native language has been the key to success when I have visited Spanish-speaking countries, and I want similar success here in Brazil. One of my top rules of giving a presentation that inspires people to take action is to speak in a language the audience understands. My plan is to give my presentations in Portuguese, and to do that I will need private lessons (and a lot of practice!). Please help make that possible by assisting my continuing education and the expansion of my language skills…for the betterment of frogkind!
Please donate now and help me reach my fundraising goal of $1,210 to ensure the success of SAVE THE FROGS! in Brazil:
Regardless of when you read this post, you can donate through the link above then email firstname.lastname@example.org asking us to direct your donation towards SAVE THE FROGS! Brazil activities. Your donation is fully tax-deductible.
If you have ever thought that perhaps it is unnecessary to donate because SAVE THE FROGS! has all the funds we need to protect the world’s amphibians…please go ahead and donate if you are contemplating it. There are so few people in the world who care as much about amphibians as you: your donation is far more important than you realize.
I found this toad in the Amazon north of Manaus (Reserva Adolfo Ducke) in 2008.
My History In Brazil
This is my 4th trip to Brazil. Here is a brief summary of my experiences here.
I crossed the border from Uruguay into southern Brazil and headed all the way up the coast to the mouth of the Amazon at Belem. I sat on more 18 and 24 hour bus rides than you can imagine. I hiked and camped along the way at Ilha Grande, Chapada Diamantina and Jericoacoara. I went up the Amazon to Santarem and Alter do Chao, then south on the Rio Tapajos, a tributary of the Amazon so wide that I could not see the far shore. I spoke no Portuguese when I arrived in Brazil, but 10 days later I had converted my Spanish knowledge to Portuguese and was having conversations with locals. I used the Barron’s Portuguese book to learn the fundamentals of Portuguese.
I hiked three days from the base of Roraima in Venezuela to get to the summit of Mt. Roraima and eventually to the Punto Triple (Triple Point), where Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil meet. Roraima is the highest of the tepuis (table top mountains), and one of the oldest places on the planet (the rock is slow to erode). I found endemic frogs in puddles on the summit. The frogs live nowhere else on the planet, confined to their island in the sky. I spent about 30 minutes in Brazil and returned to Venezuela.
I gave my first ever SAVE THE FROGS! presentation. Six months earlier I had founded SAVE THE FROGS! and I thought an appropriate place to announce SAVE THE FROGS! and my plans for it would be at the 6th World Congress of Herpetology in Manaus. After my presentation, I helped track jaguars in the Adolfo Ducke Reserve and then headed north on a bus and crossed into Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
With your financial assistance (or without it…just with a lot more difficulty), I will spread the SAVE THE FROGS! message throughout Brazil, and send you lots of amazing amphibian photos and success stories!
The very first slide of the very first SAVE THE FROGS! presentation I ever gave, in August 2008 at the 6th World Congress of Herpetology in Manaus, Brazil. Was my title correct? Will you donate to ensure we have the funds to continue to pave a better way forward?
You Can Learn Portuguese
Ready to learn another language? Teach yourself Portuguese or a number of other languages using the free apps Duolingo and Memrise. Listen to the podcast called BrazilianPodClass. I study with these and I’ve also been reading the Barron’s book “501 Portuguese verbs”, which has 18 tenses of 501 different verbs, each in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person singular and plural forms…for a grand total of 54,108 verb varieties! Wish me luck!
I’ll feel a lot better when I’m up to 1,000 words mastered! Your donation today will help me hire the assistance of a private tutor to ensure I can most effectively communicate our mission to the people of Brazil.
Please take a few minutes to donate if you agree that Brazil is one of the most important places on the planet for us to be saving frogs!
There aren’t many people on the planet with the ability to go virtually anywhere in the world and create significant, positive action for endangered amphibians and their habitats. I can – with your financial support.
I was going to end with a photo of me, but this Odontophrynus is a lot better looking! Photo courtesy Leandro Moraes.
Thank you for your interest in SAVE THE FROGS!, and please be sure to forward this post to all your frog-loving friends. We depend on you to spread the word and help grow this movement.
“Dear Kerry, I can only help with $20 at the moment for your journey in Brazil for SAVE THE FROGS!, but I also want to wish you much success and fortune in paving the way to save those wonderful and special creatures. I loved your straight forward and honest email and hope you’ll learn Portuguese fast enough to speak it well to the locals. Have a great journey and hope to hear more about your experiences. All the best.”
— Maya D., London, United Kingdom
Dr. Kerry Kriger is the Founder & Executive Director of SAVE THE FROGS!, a nonprofit organization that has held over 2,000 educational events in 57 countries to raise awareness of the world’s rapidly disappearing amphibian populations. He is also a musician who has been studying, teaching, recording and performing the classical music of northern India on bamboo flute since 1996. Dr. Kriger holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and has traveled to over 65 countries. His nonprofit efforts in western Africa led him to being inducted as Chief of Environment and Development in the remote village of Yawkrom, in the Western Region of Ghana.