A beautiful Sulawesi toad, Ingerophrynus celebensis,a species endemic to the island of Sulawesi sits on a rock in a stream that weaves its way through lush primary rainforest on Mt Tompotika. Photo by Robin Moore.
A New Reserve for Mount Tompotika
How little we know about the fauna of the island was highlighted during surveys in recent years that found the presence of two new frog species – one Limnonectes sp. And a Polypedates sp. These join Ingerophrynus celebensis, Rana celebensis, Hylarana moccquardii, Limnonectes modestus and Occidozyga semipalmata in making Mount Tompotika an important area for amphibians.
Some of the prime habitat on Tompotika has recently been put in jeopardy, however, as forests are being logged, roads have been built and new villages established in its foothills. Add to this the new threat of nickel mining and the future of Mt Tompotika’s unparalleled biodiversity – that in addition to amphibians includes marsupials, primates, hornbills, psittacines and Draco lizards – look precarious. In response to the increasing threats and owing to the uniqueness of the forest habitat on Tompotika, the ASG teamed up with local NGO the Alliance for Tompotika Conservation (AlTo) to develop plans for a new protected area in the heart of Mt Tompotika, an area that is both the most biologically valuable but also the most threatened in the region.
A frog endemic to Sulawesi, Hylarana mocquardii, found during a night-time search along a stream
in the new Protected Area. Photo by Robin Moore.
Originally aiming for a preserve encompassing 1,000 hectares of intact primary forest, the partners were stunned when negotiations led to ten times this amount being set aside through an agreement between AlTo and villagers. The 10,000 hectare area will enjoy strict protection under this agreement from logging, hunting, mining and other anthropogenic threats. It will also, in effect, serve to protect the mountain’s flanks on both sides and above it, since this area is currently the main gateway for local people to access the rest of the mountain. The project employs a team of local community members to manage, preserve, and improve the forest of Mt Tompotika through a system of patrolling and restoration work. A pool of villagers is being trained in forest patrolling, planting, and management techniques, rotating these responsibilities to ensure a constant presence.
AlTo staff will perform the necessary, ongoing forest management tasks of patrolling for logging/ poaching; restoration planting; and general forest stewardship. In this way, the core forest area, which is under threat, will be protected while the degraded forest of the buffer zone will be restored, promoting local pride and serving as a model for restoration of other degraded forest areas and the protection of key amphibian habitat in Sulawesi and beyond.
We wish to thank the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, George Meyer and Maria Semple, and the Save Our Species Fund for supporting this project.
Photo by Robin Moore.
Mount Tompotika, Sulawesi
Limnonectes sp., Polypedates sp., Ingerophrynus celebensis, Rana celebensis, Hylarana moccquardii, Limnonectes modestus and Occidozyga semipalmata and others make Mount Tompotika an important area for amphibians. Also at risk were various marsupials, primates, hornbills, psittacines and Draco lizards.
Some of the prime habitat on Tompotika was put in jeopardy as forests were being logged, roads were being built, new villages established in its foothills, and nickel mining.
In response to the increasing threats and owing to the uniqueness of the forest habitat on Tompotika, the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group teamed up with local NGO the Alliance for Tompotika Conservation (AlTo) to develop plans for a new protected area in the heart of Mt Tompotika, an area that is both the most biologically valuable but also the most threatened in the region.
Mount Tompotika is a 1,600m forested mountain on the extreme eastern tip of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Considered a sacred place of origin for all three of the ethnic groups indigenous to the area, the mountain forms the center and focal point of the Tompotika peninsula. Until recently the mountain was completely uninhabited and shrouded by mystery. Photo by Robin Moore.
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A very happy guide after catching a giant Limnonectes frog from a stream that is now protected on Mount Tompotika. Photo by Robin Moore.