Conservation Projects – Species Research
Frogs as key indicators of healthy environments
In response to the critical pan-African loss of frogs, our alumni are taking the lead in frog research and education in Ghana. The alumni are particularly focused on the Giant Squeaker Frog, which is both evolutionarily distinct and endangered. The combination of mining, extensive logging and farming of the invasive Siam weed has contributed to the species’ decline in Ghana. To address these challenges, the alumni are conducting research on frogs as key indicators of healthy environments, and notably the sustainable availability of water. By placing a tangible value on frog’s fragile habitats, the alumni hope that policy makers and resource users will make informed choices and stop incompatible practises used to exploit resources around important biodiversity habitats. To complement their efforts, the alumni have planted over 2,000 fast-growing native trees, with intent to establish vegetation corridors to allow safe passage of species between discontinuous sites. Led by Gilbert Adum Basse, the alumni have also formed SAVE THE FROGS Ghana! ⎯ a pioneer non-governmental organisation on frogs research and education, which is serving as a platform for furthering the alumni course.
The threatened primates of Tanzania
The Kalunga natural forest reserve in Morogoro, Tanzania is the home of the Udzungwa red colobus, one of the most threatened primates in the country. The species faces major threats from hunting and habitat loss and degradation, which are leading to serious declines in populations. The Tanzania TBA Alumni Association investigated the adaptability of the monkeys which have been relegated to secondary habitats (agricultural lands and rubber plantations) that, in 2005 replaced monkeys’ natural forest habitats. In their finding, the alumni reported healthy populations of the Udzungwa red colobus in the secondary habitats. The alumni have used these findings to make policy recommendations on how to save this endangered and endemic primate species, in the long term.
Demystifying myths surrounding Malawi’s rare Chameleons
The Mulanje Mountain Chameleon and the Mulanje Pygmy Chameleon are dwarf chameleons that are only found in Mount Mulanje in south eastern Malawi. To date, these like all chameleons in Malawi are subject of cultural myths, the result of which has been a general dislike and persecution of chameleons in the country, and neglect in research. The situation has concerned our Malawian alumni to undertake research on the diversity and distribution, and create awareness among local residents of the importance of chameleon. The project is documenting myths associated with the chameleons, and gathering indigenous knowledge, the alumni can use to champion conservation efforts. The findings of the research will be used to assess the IUCN red listing status of chameleons in Malawi as an important step in protecting threatened species.