Intensifying Efforts to Rediscover and Save the Last Mountain Toads of Mount Bamboutos, Cameroon

16 Dec 2021 Mount Bamboutos, Cameroon, Africa Amphibians

Arnaud Marius Tchassem Fokoua


Other projects

12 Feb 2014

Influence of Anthropogenic Activities on the Distribution and Conservation Status of Amphibians of Bamenda Highlands

24 Mar 2016

Influence of Anthropogenic Activities on the Distribution and Conservation Status of Amphibians of Bamenda Highlands

The Mount Bamboutos form the northern portion of the Highlands of Cameroon, an area of exceptionally high amphibian endemism (Bergl et al., 2007). The mountain has a high human population density, leading to historically extensive habitat loss due to increased agricultural activities as well as disturbance by cattle in their breeding habitats (streams) and fire. As a result, many of the species’ endemic that are ecologically distinct, highly threatened [(Werneria bambutensis (Small Tongue Toad) (CR), Wolterstorffina mirei (Bamboutos Wolterstorff Toad) (EN)] are listed as threatened by the IUCN. More recently, community level amphibian population declines have been reported in association with disease (chytrid fungus) with possible links to climate change in Cameroon (Hirschfeld et al., 2016, Doherty-Bone & Gvoždík 2017). Detailed knowledge of the ecology of these animals however remains very limited, though recent stratified habitat surveys have not found these (Tchassem et al. In Press).

Melétan, the highest peak of Mount Bamboutos showing different habitats types forest galleries; agricultural patches, and pasture (Rainy season). ©Arnaud Marius Tchassem Fokoua

Melétan, the highest peak of Mount Bamboutos showing different habitats types forest galleries; agricultural patches, and pasture (Rainy season). ©Arnaud Marius Tchassem Fokoua

During this project, I will work closely with local communities to understand their situation, assess their knowledge, and jointly develop conservation interventions. In addition, I will work with them to restore degraded habitats of these rare toads and raise awareness on amphibian conservation in general. Specifically, I will organize sensitization events (to be attended by local authorities and local community members) during which I will talk about amphibian conservation successes around the world and encourage local communities, especially the farmers and shepherds, to be the champions of conservation on Mount Bamboutos. In addition to raising locals as champions for amphibian conservation, I will be facilitating their involvement to identify priority areas for conservation of the target species (Werneria bambutensis and Wolterstorffina mirei) and their habitats.

The project aims to locate remnant toad populations and work towards habitat management and restoration in collaboration with the local community. The work is going to achieve the following:

- Undertake focused surveys for Werneria bambutensis and Wolterstorffina mirei at higher elevations of Mount Bamboutos to identify possible remnant populations, historical distribution patterns, actual and potential threats, habitats and key areas of conservation priorities.

- Assess the presence/absence of chytrid fungus on the focal species and threats to the amphibian survival.

- Collaborate with local communities to protect and restore mountain forest through reforestation programmes.

- Reinforce local awareness of the species’ conservation needs and sustainable use of natural resources to conserve the habitat of W. bambutensis & W. mirei.

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