African Conservationist moves to preserve world’s biggest frog specie.

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  • Africa is home to the largest frogs in the world.

 

  • Though some natives of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea recognize this big blessing as a valuable part of the ecosystem, others see it as meat.

 

  • Efforts go into saving these gentle giants from extinction.

In the forests and rivers of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, one will find the largest living frog specie in the world. Aptly named the Goliath frog, this giant frog – also known as the giant harmonic frog, Goliath Bullfrog, or Giant Slippery Frog, or by its scientific name Conraua Goliath – comfortably takes up a 12.6-inch space and weighs more than seven pounds.

These giant creatures grow as big as domestic cats. They are so big that, in their world, the males can effortlessly move sizeable stones, spanning up to three feet wide, to create fortress-like nests just so their females can lay eggs. The size of each egg? I will leave that to your imagination.  They also build their ponds.

                       

Cedrick Fogwan, a Cameroonian conservationist, says the mighty proportions of these creatures made him feel like he was holding a human baby when he lifted one.  He felt so connected that he started a project to fight for the species’ future. He got a call from an ex-rustler reporting that a frog had been seized by a neighbor; this was a turning point for Cedric. He rescued the creature and reintroduced it to its natural habitat. He has been fighting for the giants ever since.

He said, “When I found this species was unique – the biggest one in the world – I said this is something that we cannot easily find elsewhere and I was proud of it.” Adding that “People in the area say they are blessed to have something like that; they attach to it a cultural value…I believe we can have it forever and we can continue to be proud of it.”

The Goliath frogs are usually either yellow-orange or yellow-green. Their meals consist of assorted fish forms, straying snakes, minuscule mammals, and other amphibians like salamanders or newts. The tadpoles, however, eat only one podostemaceae, a dicotyledonous flowering river weed.

Its value to the ecosystem is grossly underestimated, many are quite unaware of its contribution to the environment. These big creatures prey on insects that terminate crops, unfortunately, their physical features make them easy prey to some people. They are hunted for meat, so they are gradually approaching extinction. Others want to move them out of their already plundered natural habitats into homes where they can be pets.

Because of the shrinking population of these hunted creatures, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN, has put it on its Red List of Threatened Species. Apart from waterbodies like rivers and streams, its habitat is quickly getting distorted; the frog is now officially classified as an endangered breed.

                                 

These giants have been meat for a long time, and their natural habitat is threatened by deforestation. However, conservation efforts are underway to sway would-be predators to become grassroots scientists, capturing interesting facts and moments about the frog rather than capturing it for food. Efforts are also being made to help set up snail farms that can grow alternative food for the frogs. These efforts have yielded results, in the Mount Nlonako Reserve, the goliath frogs are gradually returning to new rivers.

The project to save the goliath frog is supported by the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) run by Fauna & Flora International, BirdLife International, the Wildlife Conservation Society International (WCSI), and Conservation International (CI).

 

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