7 Sep 2023
Diversity, Ecology and Conservation Status of Amphibians of the Tchabal Mbabo, A Key Biodiversity Area in Cameroon
Mount Tchabal Mbabo (MTM) represents an area with astonishing biodiversity and endemism (Herrmann et al., 2007). This area is part of the mountainous setting collectively known as the Cameroon volcanic line and is graded a Key Biodiversity Area (BirdLife International, 2023). Species needing strong conservation efforts continue to be described from this mountain (Gvoždík et al., 2020). Our previous project (ID 33666-1) on this mountain documented some amphibian species of conservation importance as well as several breeding sites for amphibians. However, we could not observe some species which remain missing from previous records. Endangered species such as Cardioglossa alsco or Phrynobatrachus steindachneri have been missing there for the past decades. This could be explained by the fragile nature of amphibians which are probably suffering from the ongoing human pressure on this mountain. Indeed, the growing anthropogenic activities around are leading to more land demand for human habitation, agriculture, and animal rearing (personal observation). The resulting disturbance is seriously threatening local amphibian fauna. Recent amphibians surveys on nearby mountains (Mount Oku and Manengouba) documented a high prevalence of the amphibian deadly chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Hirschfeld et al., 2016) while the situation for MTM remains obscure.
This project will strive to:
- Enhance survey efforts on the Mount Tchabal Mbabo to document fully the contemporary frog fauna, habitat use, threats (including Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) surveillance), and key conservation areas for endemic amphibian species.
- Use Geographical Information System to record breeding sites and propose a sound management plans to restore degraded habitats (if necessary) around these points.
- Assess local attitudes and perceptions toward species and their habitat; raise local awareness on the species’ conservation needs and build capacity to improve endemic amphibians’ future population assessments.
- Recommendations will be handed to the authorities in charge of wildlife protection and will serve as a base for the elaboration of conservation strategies for these species.
This is necessary to develop robust scientific interventions and long-term conservation plans for this fragile setting.