21 Mar 2016
Stream Frogs’ (Paha) Consumption Scenario vs Conservation Strategy? Analyzing a Catch-22 Situation from the Northern Segments of Bhojpur District, Eastern Nepal
This project will initiate conservation of mountain frogs (Paha) at Manaslu Conservation Area (MCA) through research and conservation education. Local community will be encouraged for Paha conservation and empowered through formation of Amphibian Conservation Groups.
Globally, amphibians are the most threatened group of vertebrates (30.2%) and that is even higher than for either birds (12.5%) or mammals (20.6%) alone. Today, they face serious troubles from habitat alteration, pesticides use, climate change, over collection, invasive species, drying of aquatic sources, disease and construction. Although amphibian studies in Nepal took place during Hodgson’s period (probably 100 years before), there is only fragmentary evidence that infer threats to amphibians across the country. Since earlier studies are limited to checklist preparation only, there is less priority for conservation of these ecologically important animals.
Nepal is home to 53 species of amphibian (1 newt, 4 toads, 47 frogs and 1 caecilian) that are distributed across a wide elevation range <100 m to >4000 m. Manaslu Conservation Area (MCA) situated in Western Nepal harbours 16 species, of which two are Vulnerable (VU) and one assessed Nearly Threatened (NT) by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It has been found that local communities of MCA hunt and consume mountain frogs, locally called Paha for food and medicinal benefits. Hunting usually takes place during the monsoon/rainy season with wider participation of different age-group. This project will try to intervene in conserving mountain frogs (Paha) at Manaslu region through research and conservation education.
Amphibians’ survey will be conducted on late spring and mid-summer, findings of that will be used to prepare comprehensive Species Account. Amphibian hot spot areas will be mapped along with distribution. Information on Paha hunting and survey will be collected through interviews and group discussion. Local people will be educated and trained on the importance of amphibians through awareness program at schools, dissemination workshop at the community, formation of Amphibian Conservation Group (ACG) at each of the 7 VDCs in MCA. ACG involve representatives from Conservation Area Management Committee, Women’s Group, Forest Management Committee, MCAP officials, teachers, farmers, resource owners, hoteliers, local hunters, monks etc. ACG will be trained on Paha conservation issues and advocacy. Conservation support materials including colour posters and booklet on local amphibians of Manaslu region will be developed and distributed. International SAVE THE FROGS! Day will be celebrated on April 30, 2016 at the premises of MCA Office in Philim, Gorkha.
Radio interviews, newspaper article, sharing workshop and use of social media (FB, Twitter, Blog etc.) will help in spreading conservation message to a wider audience.