We recently sat down with Devin Edmonds, the Amphibian Conservation Director for the newest partner to join the Alliance, Association Mitsinjo. Mitsinjo is a Malagasy word that in the context of their organization means “to look ahead and provide for the future.” Their mission is to link biodiversity conservation with sustainable rural development in Andasibe, Madagascar – the frog capital of the island![vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][text_output]
Amphibians the world over are facing probably the world’s most serious extinction crisis. What are your thoughts on the future prospects for amphibian conservation and preventing further extinctions?
I find it best not to think too much about the future, especially concerning amphibians. It will bring you down, like looking at the rising water from your ship as it sinks. Instead, plug a few of the leaky holes, find a few good species or key habitats or communities to focus on, and those pieces will provide the movement needed to keep amphibians afloat.
What do you think are some of the most promising developments in the fight to prevent further amphibian population declines?
This prompts me to mention new scientific breakthroughs or research that will help conservationists address the threats amphibians are facing, but if I am honest these are not the most promising developments I see going on.
Rather, I find hope when I see Edupsie working at the breeding facility here in Andasibe, who as a youth collected Golden mantella from the surrounding forests to sell into the pet trade but now maintains a captive assurance colony of this Critically Endangered species to prevent their extinction.
Or when I walk to market and the brother of one of our association’s guides runs up to me to ask me the name of the green frog with red eyes that he saw last night calling in the avocado tree by his house.
Or when Jean Noel, who was a carpenter 15 years ago and is now Mitsinjo’s president, suggests wetland restoration as an activity that our organization should focus on this year.
These are the most promising developments I see in the fight to prevent further amphibian population declines. Subtle shifts in attitudes and awareness influence behavior, and this is real progress.
Why did you join the Alliance and what are you doing to help protect amphibians?
We work in the most frog species-rich region of one of the most frog species-rich countries in the world. Here, we operate Madagascar’s only biosecure captive amphibian survival assurance center. We manage more than 10,000 ha of key amphibian habitat. We run frog surveys to detect population declines and screen our local amphibians for disease. All of these activities are run by members of the Andasibe community, which is one of Mitsinjo’s main strengths as an organization.
But it also can be a weak point. Since we work on an exceptionally local level and have no communications department, we hope that by joining the ASA we can share what we do with a broader audience, and potentially find new partners and support for our work in the frog capital of Madagascar.[/text_output][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″]
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