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12 June 2017

ERuDeF Institute Launches the Cameroon Amphibians Conservation Initiative

Posted in News, Amphibian Conservation Project, Views 413

The ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and None-Profit Studies, ERuDeF Institute, has launched a new initiative that will provide essential scientific information as well as support the conservation of amphibians in Cameroon dubbed the Cameroon Amphibians Conservation Initiative.

Launched last April, on the occasion of the World Amphibians Day, this innovative and multidisciplinary initiative comes to introduce a multi scale approach to research and monitoring of amphibians focusing on detailed investigations on few species in specific local sites throughout the nation, while monitoring a larger number of species over broader areas producing inventory documents on species occurrence and distribution.

According to the Director of the Institute, Madam Akeh Nug, the creation of this Initiative, is a response to the outcome of a baseline survey of the endangered frog species; Goliath conrua along the flanks of Mt Nlonako in the Littoral Region of Cameroon carried out by the Institute.

“The research we carried out revealed that amphibian population along the flanks of Mt Ntlonako are on a sharp decline, insinuated that these species may become extinct if drastic measures are not taking to conserve them. Reason why the ERuDeF Institute does not want to leave any stone unturned at ensuring that these wildlife species are conserved,” she said.

The ERuDeF Institute boss stated that the effective functioning of this Initiative will aid in reducing the rate of amphibians decline in Cameroon.

Joining counterpart institutions like Save the Frogs, the Helsinki Zoo, Amphibian Arc and the Scottish Royal zoological Society in amphibian conservation, this Initiative in collaboration with the Department of Conservation at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation will be at the forefront of studying amphibian populations and life history traits, measuring and monitoring environmental characteristics, and conducting research into potential causes of decline for these species amongst others.

By Aguh A. N.

01 June 2017

Urgent Actions Needed To Save Frogs in Cameroon-Louis Nkembi

Posted in Amphibian Conservation Project, Views 412

Urgent Actions Needed To Save Frogs in Cameroon-Louis Nkembi

The President and Chief Executive Officer of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Louis Nkembi, has underscored the need for drastic actions to be taken to save frog species in Cameroon. Speaking Saturday April 29, 2017, on the occasion of the 9th edition of the World Amphibians Day, the ERuDeF boss noted that frogs are declining at an exponential rate, and if nothing is done and on time, the species may become extinct. “Frogs or Amphibians in general is one of the taxa going into extinction at the fastest rate, compared to others. Amphibians worldwide are declining at an alarming rate with 32% of amphibian species threatened with extinction compared to 23% of mammals and 12% of birds. Approximately, 41% of the more than 7,400 amphibian species on the planet are threatened with extinction. So there’s a need to safe this species, otherwise, in the next decades, all the frogs will disappear from the world,” Mr. Nkembi stated. The ERuDeF Boss said the urgent creation of protected areas within frogs habitats, will limit the level of hunting and disappearance of the species. “Most amphibians in Cameroon are found on mountains and hilltops like Nlonako, Munanenguba, Bamboutos, Oku, etc. Unfortunately, all of these hilltops are not protected. Moreover, there are no protected areas that are focused just for amphibians. We are using this forum to call on government to facilitate the creation of protected areas, especially in areas where we have largest frog concentrations. Mt. Nlonako, and Mt Muanenguba joined together, have the largest concentration of amphibians in Africa,” Louis Nkembi said. Elaborating on the threat level of amphibians in Cameroon, the Coordinator of the ERuDeF amphibians’ project, Grace Manka, said amphibians’ fast decline is caused by man’s unsustainable activities to the environment. “One of the main reasons why we are losing so many amphibians is overharvesting. About 20,000 frogs are being harvested every year in Cameroon. Also, when people cut down trees indiscriminately, amphibians lose their habitat. Applying a lot of pesticides on farms close to waterbodies, will kill especially frogs and toads. Diseases also facilitate the disappearance of frogs,” Grace Manka added. She underscored the importance of conserving frogs. “Frogs play an important role in nature as both predator and prey, sustaining the delicate balance of nature through the food web. Amphibian influence and alter disease transmission. Predatory amphibians have helped reduce the spread of mosquito-borne illness through predation and competition with mosquitoes. For example the frog Lysapsus limellus feeds on flies of the family Ephydridae, which carry human diseases in the tropics. In the tropics, more than 60 species of amphibians are used in traditional medicine, with the skin and fat of Rhinel lajimi, and Leptodacty lusvastus sold to treat from asthma, to skin ailments and tumors,” Grace Manka expounded. Besides these, she added that frogs contribute in regulating pest outbreaks and seed dispersal. Meanwhile, researchers have developed numerous medical advances using amphibians. For example, antimicrobial peptides from frog skin secretions have shown the potential to inhibit infection and transfer of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Also speaking at the event, the representative of the Southwest Regional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife, Epoh Frankline, applauded ERuDeF’s milestone in amphibian conservation. The event that took place at the Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife, saw the participation of Amphibian experts, researchers, media practitioners, students of environment institutions, amongst others. A network codenamed Cameroon Amphibian Network, was formed at the end of the occasion, with new members promising to be committed to the betterment of amphibians in Cameroon.

By Melvis Takang Ma-Ebai

01 June 2016

ERuDeF Battling the Extinction of Goliath, World’s Biggest Frog

Posted in Amphibian Conservation Project, Views 679

ERuDeF Battling the Extinction of Goliath, World’s Biggest Frog

 Listed as Endangered on the Red List of the International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), goliath, the world’s biggest and most endemic frog specie currently risks extinction given wanton hunting and habitat destruction in the Nlonako Mountains Littoral Region Cameroon.

Endemic to the Nlonako and Muanenguba Conservation Complex and parts of Equatorial Guinea, the Goliath Frog known by its scientific name Conraua Goliath plays an invaluable ecological role in maintaining the ecosystem and is known for its medicinal properties notably in the fight against diseases like malaria and yellow fever as they feed on the larvae of the insects that cause these diseases.

This rare amphibian specie has unfortunately been subjected to overexploitation by pet traders and loss of habitat from communities adjacent to its natural habitat. Approximately 2000 goliath frogs are exploited annually and commercialized on the Douala-Nkongsamba highway mostly to foreign nationals. An average size goliath frog, according to a pet trader in Nlonako, costs between FCFA 5000(USD 10) and 30000(USD 60) depending on the size. “It’s a delicacy in this village. We serve it to visitors and during special occasions. We also sell it to travelers on the highways” recounts a native of Kola, a community adjacent to the Nlonako Mountains.  About 80% of Nlonako adjacent communities are involved in coffee plantation, oil palm and food crop plantation and hunting activities.

“I used to make about FCFA 200000 a week from the sales of frogs especially during the peak periods that run from November to February but now and I hardly can make up to 50000 a week no matter the period. “Explains Andre, a goliath frog trader in Douala

This trade is even more flourishing in the villages of Kola, Lalla and Magamba that are directly adjacent to the Nlonako Mountains. “Our most regular customers are foreigners and travelers who usually buy these frogs either for food or out of curiosity owing to its large size. There are some of them as big as the size of a new born baby” he adds

According to a preliminary study undertaken by Niba Grace, A Post Graduate Student of Biodiversity Conservation at the ERuDeF institute of Biodiversity and Non-Profit Studies (EIBiNS) Cameroon, Nlonako adjacent communities make up to FCFA 3million ( USD 6000) every year from the sales of Goliath frogs, a situation that has raised doubts about the future of this amphibian specie.

ERuDeF in partnership with Cameroon’s Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, the ERuDeF Institute and the University of Buea with initial support worth 2000 Euros from the Helsinki Zoo USA has been engaged in baseline survey aimed at establishing the decree of threat faced by this frog specie in the hands of poachers. A long term project to culminate in the creation of a wildlife sanctuary for the over 93 amphibian species including the goliath frog currently being hosted in this sanctuary is under production pending submission and validation by the Cameroon Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife.

According to IUCN Global Amphibian Red list Assessment of 2004, amphibians are far more threatened than either birds or mammals, with 32.5% of amphibian (1,856 species) being globally threatened compared with 12% of birds (1,211 species) and 23% of mammals (1,130 species).

 

31 March 2016

Saving the Amphibians of Mount Nlonako in Littoral-Cameroon

Posted in Amphibian Conservation Project, Views 697

Geographical Scope

Mt. Nlonako is found in the Littoral Region of Cameroon and is located between 4°49’-4°56’N and from 9°56’-10°01’E encompassing approximately 15,000 ha (Herman et al). The western and northern flanks face the town of Nkongsamba, and the busy road between Douala and Bamenda. The slopes on this side are heavily cultivated with the forest destroyed up to an elevation of approximately 1,100 m. To the South and East however, the forest slopes are much less influenced by human activities. A vast lowland rainforest, encompassing several thousand km2, extends from the foothills of Mt. Nlonako reaching past Nkondjock in the East and Yabassi in the South.

 Description

 Mt Nlonako, which is home to the world largest amphibians species most of which are listed Critically Endangered on the IUCN category of highest threat. One of such species is Conraua goliath (goliath frog) is face with the problem of over exploitation for food and pet trade and may become extinct in no distance time if stringent actions are not taken.  

This is so because while conservation is increasingly a subject of international and national interest it remains marginal concept to local communities around Mt Nlonako due to limited or no knowledge of the importance of amphibians to the ecosystem. The villagers are not conscious of the importance of amphibians in reducing the spread of diseases such as malaria and yellow fever since they tend to feed on the larvae of these insects; and as bio indicators.

Project Goal: This project aims at ensuring long term conservation of globally threatened and endemic amphibians’ species of Mt Nlonako

 Anticipated Outcomes: Through socio economic survey, amphibians’ education in primary and secondary schools and amphibian surveys, this project seeks to improve knowledge and better the scientific understanding of globally threatened and endemic amphibians species, and uses such information for the long term conservation these species and their habitat. It also seeks to advocate for the legal protection of this amphibians hotspot to protect endemic and large amphibians species included but not limited to the Conraua goliath (goliath frog)    

Achievements: ERuDeF Institute had conducted base line survey at Mt Nlonako adjacent communities during which community’s view on amphibian conservation and some possible threats on amphibians were known. Meanwhile ERuDeF Institute is conducting a biological and socio-economic surveys in this area in collaboration with.................................