Winner of the Whitley Award donated by Sarah Chenevix-Trench
Frogs are in rapid decline across the globe with over one third of all species threatened with extinction, making their group more endangered than birds or mammals. Already 200 known species have been lost worldwide. Frogs provide important services such as pest control and pollination, and form the basis of many mammal and bird food chains.
Found only in West Africa, the giant squeaker frog is a symbol for amphibians throughout Ghana. Rediscovered by Gilbert Adum and his team in 2009, the only recent breeding record for the species is from Ghana’s Sui Forest Reserve, part of the Upper Guinean biodiversity hotspot. This habitat also provides water, food and fuel to local communities. However, it is threatened by illegal logging, agricultural encroachment, charcoal production and tree burning to access wild honey.
Gilbert was born into a hunting tribe. Today, he is one of Africa’s leading amphibian conservationists and Co-Founder of ‘SAVE THE FROGS Ghana!’. To date he has planted 10,000 native trees to restore habitat, launched ‘Save the Giant Squeaker Frogs Day!’ to enthuse Ghanaians about conservation, and persuaded illegal farmers and loggers to halt such activities in favour of alternative livelihoods. In doing so, Gilbert is bringing these frogs back from the brink of extinction.
Gilbert’s project will:
- Develop sustainable beekeeping livelihoods for 50 families to reduce reliance on amphibian habitat.
- Inspire the next generation to value frogs through national outreach, school activities and the creation of an Education Centre.
- Build in-country capacity to undertake amphibian conservation through field courses.
- Influence Ghana’s policymakers to increase commitment for effective management and protection of amphibian habitat.
Why it matters:
- Over 90% of West Africa’s rainforests have been destroyed.
- Ghana has at least 25 threatened frog species.
- Protection of Sui Forest will also conserve habitat for western chimpanzees.
“Time is running out to save the frogs but if we act now, there is still hope to reverse the trend.”
2019 CONTINUATION FUNDING
Protecting the last home of the Giant Squeaker Frog
£70,000 over 2 years
The Sui River Forest Reserve in Ghana is the last refuge for the Critically Endangered Giant Squeaker Frog. Ghana has one of the world’s highest rates of tropical forest loss. With a combination of its remote location, relatively high poverty levels and limited opportunities, logging is permitted in the reserve and increasing, thus, impeding into the species’ only known breeding site. Significant areas of habitat have already been lost and damaged by timber extraction. Invasive plants in these disturbed areas also prevent regeneration of native rainforest species and the buildup of leaf-litter which the frogs depend on.
Habitat protection is essential for these amphibians and can be obtained by upgrading the reserve to a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA), an IUCN designation that will provide strict government protection, outlaw logging and help reverse encroachment. Without this protection, the Giant Squeaker Frog is anticipated to become extinct very soon thereafter. Gilbert and his team aim to secure GSBA designation for the area and will continue engaging communities towards improved forest guardianship and sustainable use. With the support of WFN Continuation Funding, they will use an evidence-based approach to set up Community Development Funds and extend reforestation and viable livelihood activities to reduce forest resource extraction, encompassing four communities living around the reserve.