Protecting Goliath, the World’s Largest Frog
There’s no doubt that the goliath frog is aptly named. The species is the largest frog in the world, reaching up to 12.5 inches in length and 7.2 pounds in weight. The goliath frog is also facing a challenge befitting its namesake: habitat loss and over-harvesting have caused severe population declines in the three west African countries the frog inhabits: Cameroon, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea. We have joined forces with partners to Cameroon to protect goliath frog populations from unsustainable collection for food and trade, and to protect their forest habitat from conversion to agriculture. The exciting project spans an area in the Nkongssamba region of Southwestern Cameroon characterized by dense forest and mountain highlands including Mount Manengouba, a known hotspot for amphibians in Africa.
We support the work of the Cameroon Herpetology-Conservation Biology Foundation (CAMHERP-CBF) to tackle the threats of over-harvesting and habitat loss. Dr. Gonwouo Nono LeGrand and his team at the Foundation have two approaches to protecting the endangered goliath frog: 1) raising conservation awareness in communities that interact with frog populations, and 2) restoring altered habitats where they have been disturbed.
Because these frogs are a type of bushmeat and food source, the key to successful conservation is in working directly with communities hunting the species. By raising awareness and garnering community support, Dr. LeGrand hopes to change behavior and reduce hunting pressures enough that the population is protected.
Dr. LeGrand’s team also plants trees and conducts field surveys, often encountering these adorable giants in the field. By planting trees in areas of disturbed habitat, the team is ensuring that the goliath frog will have more viable habitat as it loses habitat elsewhere, mainly to agriculture. By monitoring the distribution and status of goliath frogs through field surveys, the team is tracking the fate of this unique West African species in the wild.
The Foundation is working in 10 villages to establish community-based organizations to help in their efforts. The team supplies outreach materials (leaflets, brochures, posters, and presentations) to local community stakeholders and schools, as well as workers, to spread the message about reducing frog harvest and habitat change. The community organizations help in communications efforts, including encouraging legal and sustainable hunting practices. Beyond working with these targeted groups, the Foundation plans to widen its outreach efforts through local radio stations to reach all age groups in the native language.
Goliath frog (Conraoua goliath)
Cameroon Herpetology-Conservation Biology Foundation
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