MISSION POSSIBLE: THE SEARCH AND RESCUE OF GHANA’S CRITICALLY ENDANGERED GIANT SQUEAKER FROG

SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana, West Africa’s first non-profit organisation dedicated exclusively to the conservation of amphibians, is conducting extensive field surveys and rescue operations for the critically endangered Ghana Giant Squeaker Frog (Arthroleptis krokosua) from 19th– 23rd December, 2014. Volunteers both in Ghana and abroad are welcome to join our experts on this all important expedition.

 

The Ghana Giant Squeaker Frog is a rare and endemic species now restricted to Western Ghana’s Sui River Forest Reserve. Unfortunately, the frog is on the verge of extinction as it faces constant threats from illegal loggers and farmers and the invasive non-native weed, the Devil weed (Chromolaena odorata). These threats deplete the density of leaf-litter required by the frog for predator escape, desiccation and breeding thereby, reducing its chances of survival. With only 16 individuals recorded to date, majority being juveniles, there is little knowledge about the species and its ecology. This survey will therefore, examine its suitable habitats and set up appropriate rescue and management operations for relic populations. Critical areas that are degraded will be planted with trees, joining other fragmented areas to increase the frog’s survival. These activities are in line with SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana’s goal of averting the extinction of any Ghanaian amphibian.

 

We encourage tertiary students to take advantage of this rare opportunity to improve their knowledge and skills in amphibian ecology and conservation. Student volunteers will also be permitted to collect data for their project thesis.

 

Thanks to Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund and SAVE THE FROGS! USA, for supporting this project.

 

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PREVENTING AMPHIBIAN ROADKILLS AT ONE OF GHANA’S MOST BIODIVERSE AREAS

Volunteers both in Ghana and abroad are needed to help SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana conduct amphibian surveys and rescue operations for amphibians vulnerable to roadkills at the Ankasa Conservation Area (ACA) starting from 12th– 18th December, 2014.

 

ACA is one of Ghana’s most biodiverse areas found in the wet evergreen forest zone, supporting the country’s richest amphibian diversity. Unfortunately, ACA is constantly under ecological stress from the thousands of annual tourists. More disturbing is the poor nature of the roads leading to and passing through ACA, plagued with potholes that collect water used by some frog species as temporary habitats. Others also cross the roads during their natal migration periods in search of suitable breeding grounds. As a result, they are exposed to many dangers including roadkills.

 

In the absence of  baseline data on amphibian roadkills that can help effectively address the problem in West Africa, this project is gathering and documenting fundamental information using ACA as a reference point. Specifically, we are developing photo guides to amphibians that occur within ACA. We are also collecting data on natal migratory frog species, proximity of breeding ponds to roads, species that use puddles as temporary habitats and species that are vulnerable or victims of road mortality.

 

Conservation measures underway to prevent the amphibian roadkills within ACA include:
• Covering up potholes in critical natal migratory routes together with ACA staff and school children from neighbouring communities.
• Educating ACA staff, tourists and local communities through radio programmes and video shows on the negative impacts of roadkills on amphibians.

 

Tertiary students are particularly encouraged to take advantage of this volunteering opportunity to develop their skills in amphibian research and also collect data that could be used for their thesis.

 

You can contact SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana by sending an email to ghana@savethefrogs.com or calling +233(0)202100198.

 

Thanks to the UK based Rufford Foundation for giving a £6,000 grant to fund this project.


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SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana-KNUST Chapter Members on Frogs Saving Spree

Members of SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana KNUST Chapter, the world’s first international university chapter of SAVE THE FROGS!, are embarking on a massive frog conservation education at local communities in the Kumasi Metropolis this Saturday, 8th November 2014. The members will educate the local people about the plight of frogs, and how to organize amphibian conservation activities to prevent their extinction. The outreach will also target local Senior High Schools in the evening during their weekend entertainment programme to inspire the students to pursue environmental careers.They will also distribute free educational materials including SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana stickers to these local people.

 

Since its inception in 2011, the KNUST Chapter at Ghana’s premier science university and second largest city, Kumasi, has been educating communities within the Kumasi Metropolis.This year’s outreach focuses on communities that fringe the Wewe River, a 12.9ha remnant upland forest and wetland which is an important habitat for twelve frog species. This riparian environment also forms part of the Upper Guinean Forest, one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots and so has duly been referred to as the oasis of Kumasi’s tropical biodiversity. Unfortunately, local people use this area as“wasteland” and dump water and liquid waste. There is also widespread illegal farming activities and continuous extraction of bamboo and trees by local people.

 

In their efforts to curb these illegal activities and protect the Wewe River for frogs, the KNUST Chapter has been engaging these local communities through conservation outreaches to promote a society that respects and appreciates nature. Organizing community outreaches has always been one of the major hallmarks of SAVE THE FROGS! (STF!) in combating the amphibian extinction crisis and this educational trip is perfectly in line with that.

 

RSG_13669-2_Gilbert Adum_project team interacting with village school children

 

Thanks to the Rufford Foundation, SAVE THE FROGS! and SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana for helping us save the KNUST amphibians and giving these communities the opportunity to learn about nature.

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SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana wins $5,000 award from The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund

Congratulations to SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana for winning a $5,000 award to further their efforts to protect the Giant Squeaker Frog (Arthroleptis krokosua), one of the world's most endangered frog species! The goal of the project is to better understand of the ecology of the Giant Squeaker Frog; promote a more conscious local community that respects and appreciates the frog, and engender stronger political will for protection of the species, ensuring the maintenance and protection of its viable populations for long-term survival. Specifically, SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana will conduct surveys for the frogs; create GIS maps of the frogs' locations; quantify existing anthropogenic threats, and educate local communities about the frog. These initiatives will also benefit three other globally threatened co-occurring frogs including Phrynobatrachus villiersi (Vulnerable), P. annulatus (Endangered) and Hylarana occidentalis (Endangered).

 

The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund is a significant philanthropic endowment established to provide targeted grants to individual species conservation initiatives, recognize leaders in the field of species conservation and elevate the importance of species in the broader conservation debate. To date the fund has awarded over 1000 grants to a diverse range of species across the world.

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SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana wins $5,000 award from The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund 

Congratulations to SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana for winning a $5,000 award to further their efforts to protect the Giant Squeaker Frog (Arthroleptis krokosua), one of the world's most endangered frog species! The goal of the project is to better understand the ecology of the Giant Squeaker Frog; to promote a more conscious local community that respects and appreciates the frog; and to engender stronger political will for protection of the species, ensuring the maintenance and protection of its viable populations for long-term survival. Specifically, SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana will conduct surveys for the frogs; create GIS maps of the frogs' locations; quantify existing anthropogenic threats, and educate local communities about the frog. These initiatives will also benefit three other globally threatened co-occurring frogs including Phrynobatrachus villiersi (Vulnerable), P. annulatus (Endangered) and Hylarana occidentalis (Endangered). The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund is a philanthropic endowment established to provide targeted grants to individual species conservation initiatives; recognize leaders in the field of species conservation; and elevate the importance of species in the broader conservation debate. To date the fund has awarded over 1,000 grants to a diverse range of species across the world.

 

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SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Executive Director Talks about Ghana’s Climate Change and Frogs at World’s Greenest University, UK Nottingham University

On Thursday 25th September 2014, SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana’s Co-founder and Executive Director Gilbert Adum will present a climate change and frogs talk at the world’s greenest university, UK Nottingham University.


SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Executive Director will be giving his talk to renowned professors, other scientists and students at the Faculty of Life Sciences about Ghana’s deteriorating climatic changes and what it means for the survival of the country’s frogs. SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana’s Co-founder and Executive Director says Ghana’s frogs may just have a dog’s chance to survive the onslaught of climate change given that 90% of their habitats that can otherwise shield them from the impacts of climate change are already gone. According to the Intergovernmental Platform for Climate Change, the geographic location of Ghana makes the country one of the most vulnerable areas to 21st century climatic changes. Thus, it is not surprising that Ghana is already one of the countries that are worst hit by climate change: from floods in the nation’s capital Accra to droughts up north, causing desertification that is engulfing the savanna regions. Since the early 1970s, Ghana has experienced a decline in precipitation levels of approximately 30%; and a temperature increase of at least 1°, a much faster change than most other areas of the world. Gilbert Adum adds that ‘we are yet to even see the worst of climate change as temperatures are projected to increase up to 3.0°C by the 2060s, and 5.2°C by the 2090s.’

It is indeed bad news for frogs, other wildlife and Ghanaian people alike. But Gilbert Adum who has already won a top award last week at a conference in Bonn (Germany) for his courageous and brilliant vision of climate change adaptability and mitigation strategies, believes that together there are prospects to make Ghana’s climate better for frogs and people. The Executive Director will discuss his vision also with the Nottingham University scientific community. In the end he says he hopes to bring the plight of Ghana’s frogs to the limelight, and establish long-lasting collaborations with the university’s scientists to protect the country’s vanishing frogs from climate change. He says he will also seize the opportunity to raise funds to sustain the progress his non-profit organisation SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana is making to save Ghana’s frogs.

SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana’s Co-founder and Executive Director Gilbert Adum would like to thank Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation (Germany), Museum für Naturkunde (Germany), University of Nottingham (UK) and SAVE THE FROGS! (USA) for supporting his stay and travels around Europe. We also thank Amphibian Survival Alliance for featuring this post on their website (http://www.amphibians.org/news/climate-change-and-frogs/)


the night spirit frog

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SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana KNUST Chapter Wins Award from UK Rufford Foundation

SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana-KNUST, the world’s first university chapter of SAVE THE FROGS!, has won £6,000 (USD 10,000) award from the Rufford Foundation. The award will enable the team headed by Kojo Kwakye Ofori Amanfo (a Teaching Assistant and a chapter member) to carry out an amphibian monitoring and restoration project dubbed KNUST Wewe River Amphibian Project (K-WRAP). The KNUST Wewe River is a primary drainage system of one of southern Ghana’s largest watersheds that passes through the country’s premiere science university at its botanic gardens.
The Wewe watershed is also an important habitat to at least 12 frog species but just as in most riparian environments in Ghana, these frogs are seriously threatened from land-use activities. Activities such as farming and fuelwood extraction, and illegal disposal of sewage have led to frogs’ decline precipitously. In line with this, the K-WRAP team will implement ecological and social interventions to protect the frogs and other co-occurring wildlife on the university campus such as the vulnerable Dwarf Crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis), the world’s smallest crocodile to prevent their extinction. The team will also rally support of the student body to pressurize university authorities to ban farming along the Wewe River, and disposal of untreated waste directly into the river.
Currently, a third of the world’s amphibian species are threatened with extinction with habitat destruction being the greatest contributor to this conservation problem. K-WRAP is therefore a rapid response action being employed to reverse the situation and contribute to global efforts in preventing the amphibian extinction crisis.
Thanks to the Rufford Foundation for helping save the KNUST frogs!

 

KODAK Digital Still Camera

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SAVE THE FROGS! GHANA TO TALK LIVE ON TV ABOUT THE PLIGHT OF AMPHIBIANS

On Friday, 2nd May, 2014 between the hours of 6:30 and 8:30 GMT, SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Programmes Co-ordinator Sandra Owusu-Gyamfi will be featured live on Ghana’s national television GTV on the plight of Ghana’s amphibians. Sandra will be joined on the panel by David Kwarteng of HERP Ghana and a representative from the Ghana Wildlife Division.
The TV programme is a collaborative initiative between SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana and GTV to increase public awareness on the need to respect and promote amphibian conservation. Issues to be discussed will include “what is happening to Ghana’s amphibians, importance of amphibians in the environment, and measures individuals and policy makers can take to reverse the amphibian extinction crisis and the rapid degradation of Ghana’s biodiversity”.
Ghana’s biodiversity is supported within the three main bio-geographical zones; Guineo-Congolian, Sudanian transition zone and the Sudanian zone making it one of the richest in the world. This biodiversity richness used to be the envy of other West African states and the title “Garden City of West Africa” was once conferred on Ghana’s second largest city, Kumasi by Prince Philip of England. Ghana’s biodiversity includes a list of internationally recognized sites such as the Atewa Forest. This forest is home to the critically endangered Togo Slippery Frog (Conraua derooi), the closest relative of the world’s largest frog Goliath frog (Conraua goliath) and other mammals such as Geoffrey’s Pied Colobus, one of Africa’s most threatened primates. In addition, about 60% of Ghana’s forest reserves are recognized as Important Bird Areas.
Unfortunately, land-use conversions (large-scale farming and mono-cultural plantations), habitat degradation, over-exploitation, invasive alien species, climate change, predation, wild fires and poaching are rapidly destroying this beacon of hope for Africa’s biodiversity. As a result, Ghana has already lost more than 80% of its forest cover.
In addition to the above, Ghana’s large deposits of minerals have become recent targets for mining activities leading to land, water and air pollution with heavy metals including cyanide and mercury. These inevitably affect the many species of plants and animals that rely on them especially amphibians and it is causing their rapid declines.

 

This breakfast show will also be an avenue to promote SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana and our achievements over the years in protecting Ghana’s vanishing amphibians.

 

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SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana on TV3

Catch SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana live today on Ghana’s most watched entertainment programme; Music Music on TV3, as we launch this year’s Save The Frogs Day celebration (the world’s largest amphibian actions day).
Together with some pupils from Michel Camp in Accra, we will announce the event to a studio audience of over 400 and an additional 1,000,000 TV viewers.
Watch us live as we have fun and promote amphibian conservation at GMT20:30.

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SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Programmes Co-ordinator's Visit to UK Makes Huge Waves

Miss Sandra Owusu-Gyamfi of STF! Ghana is on an official visit to the UK where she is to meet with Professional conservationists, students and the general public and share with them the plight of amphibians. She is to give presentations and form collaborations with both private and government organisations to create more awareness on the plight of amphibians and to provide tangible solutions together with such bodies to save this threatened taxa.

The 3 week visit started with a presentation at the Students Conference on Conservation Science at Cambridge, a speech at the 67th Annual meeting of the British Herpetology Society and she still has others to give at the University of Nottingham, Zoological Society of London and the Harrison Institute. Each visit will also be used to raise funds for the organisation and to contribute towards her travels, feeding and accommodation.

So far, she has raised a total of £290 through the sale of STF! Ghana paraphernalia and donations by the BHS. We will like to appreciate the response she has received from all these organsiations and their generosity towards STF! Ghana. We hope to forge a long lasting relationship and help to save amphibians.

British Herpetology Society annual meeting


Sandra with some members of the society after the presentation

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