04/27/16

The Bully of All Toads

Currently in Madagascar there is a bully. But, this is not your typical bully. This bully is the Asian toad, also known as Duttaphrynus melanostictus. The toads are threatening rare wildlife and frightening locals.

Madagascar provides a niche-like haven for these primarily lowland dwelling toads. Photo © Arthur Chapman Courtesy of Amphibians.org - Amphibian Survival Alliance.

Madagascar provides a niche-like haven for these primarily lowland dwelling toads. Photo © Arthur Chapman Courtesy of Amphibians.org – Amphibian Survival Alliance.

The theory on how they got to Madagascar is that they hitched a ride in some shipping containers from Asia between 2007 -2010. While Madagascar doesn’t have native toads, people who saw these bullies roaming knew something was wrong. And still no one knows why they have decided to make Madagascar their new home.

These toads are endangering locals, harming snakes, lemurs and exotic animals that are unique to the island. If they feed off these toads they will be poisoned, since these toads are known to be very poisonous. Smaller animals can shrink in size and as species, become extinct.

Asian Toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) in Madagascar by Franco Andreone.

Asian Toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) in Madagascar by Franco Andreone.

Scientists are still trying to come up with ideas on how to get rid of these toads and such measures wouldn’t be horribly expensive. It would cost about $2 million to $10 million (the effort would need only a wealthy backer from the West) — but that’s really just a guess. No one knows exactly where the toads are or precisely how many are in Madagascar. There’s no easy way to find them, and there’s no quick method of dispatching them, at least not in the numbers necessary for eradication.

And then there’s the fact that no one has tried to remove invasive toads on such a scale before. There have been three successful removal projects, but they were all in much smaller areas.

Asian Toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) in Madagascar by Franco Andreone, close up

Asian Toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) in Madagascar by Franco Andreone, close up.

So it looks like eradication won’t be possible, the scientists conclude, at least without a lot more research that would let managers and the government overcome many hurdles. And by that time, the toads will probably have become so numerous that, like in Australia, any such efforts would be impossible.

 
Leight-Ann BradyGuest post by Leigh-Ann Brady, who resides in NJ with her 8 year son. She is an artist and writer who is also concerned about the environment.

09/27/15

Washington Park LIVE 2015 and Frogs Are Green

Frogs Are Green began setting up the organization’s tent at 9 am! This year, thanks to the Washington Park Association, we had an incredible spot in the front of the “Washington Park LIVE” festival with a large tent, grid bars tied to the back, and two tables! One table for displaying educational information such as our books: the teaching resource curriculum, “Frogs, Amphibians and Their Threatened Environment,” and previewing our next book, “Rainforest Frogs,” which features Haiku poetry by Caley Vickerman, illustrations by Mark Lerer, a foreword by Franco Andreone, and designed by founder, Susan Newman. We also had on display materials about the contests being open right now, the 6th Annual Kids Art Contest & the 7th Annual Photography Contest. On the back grid we hung our posters to draw the eyes… and it worked! It was so interesting hearing which posters visitors liked the most… I’ll be ordering a bunch more of each of those!

The second table we covered with some mounted posters which were tapped down, as an inspirational guide of frog image reference for visitors. Those that wanted to draw frogs, they were right there on the table! On hand were colored pencils, crayons, markers, lots of paper and even frog stickers.

We greeted over 130 people of all ages during the day, and everyone enjoyed creating frogart. You’ll see from the gallery of images below both children and adults got into it. This was our most successful event yet as we sold out of our t-shirts and a bunch of posters.

We also enjoyed dancing to the music being played on the sound stage right near us, and there were plenty of food truck vendors for us to taste assorted delights, such as lobster rolls and chocolate treats.

I look forward to seeing the photos by others showing what else was happening around us.

06/4/15

DAYS OF MADAGASCAR 2015

GIORNATE DEL MADAGASCAR 2015 / DAYS OF MADAGASCAR 2015
The island of Marco Polo

June 12 and 13, 2015
Venice, Museum of Natural History

Isolated from Africa to many tens of millions of years, Madagascar has developed its own peculiar fauna and flora, dramatically different from that of other land masses, near and far.

Similarly colonization by man, which took place on a massive scale only for two thousand years, has seen the mix of elements Africans, Asians, Arabs and Europeans who have forged a culture of “metissage” composed of no less than 18 ethnic groups each with its particular history and traditions, have in common the basic language of Indonesian origin and the cult of the dead, called “famadihana”.

Unfortunately Madagascar is also a land of great contrasts, with widespread problems of social and economic. The days that pay special attention to aspects concerning the natural wealth and cultural diversity of this island, home to the intervention of researchers that deal with biodiversity and personnel working in health, showing how much Italy is engaged in this country.

In collaboration with the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences (Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali) of Turin and the Association “Malagasy Miray.”

Amphibian courtesy of Franco Andreone

Video below: Interview of Franco Andreone (herpetologist) at Andriamanero, Isalo National Park.

This video is in Italian: #madagascarexpedition2013: Betampona Rainforest
 


 

DOWNLOAD THE PRESENTATION OF THE INITIATIVE (.ppt 12.3 MB) >>>

PROGRAM

Friday, June 12, 2015 20.30 – Cinema Giorgione

Screening of the film in English “Island of lemurs in Madagascar” by David Douglas and Drew Fellman, with narrated by Morgan Freeman and with Patricia Wright

Introduction and presentation of: Franco Andreone (Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin) Giuseppe Donati (Oxford Brookes University)

Entrance to the Cinema Giorgione free until all available seats

Saturday, June 13, 2015 – Natural History Museum

10.30 Welcome and opening of the day
Gabriella Belli (Director Civic Museums Foundation of Venice)
Paola Casagrande (Director of the Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin) Randrianantoandro Solofo Theophile (Minister Counsellor Embassy of Madagascar)

Franco Andreone (Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin)
Madagascar: stories from a biodiverse land biodiverse

Giuseppe Donati (Oxford Brookes University)
Survive the next day: the lesson of lemurs

15:00

Riccardo Bononi (IRFOSS Padua)
Life, death and disease in the ancestor worship

Italian volunteers in Madagascar
Friends Amici di Jangany
The Italian volunteer in MadagascarVolontari Italiani in Madagascar

Olga del Madagascar
Culture, nature and music: songs taken from ‘album “Ma nature”

Tasting The with Malagasy vanilla

Hours 10:00 to 18:00 – Gallery of Cetaceans

Photo exhibition “Madagasikara” by Franco Andreone: throughout the day and until August 2, 2015 will be exhibited suggestive images dedicated to the nature, history and traditions of Madagascar.

Information points: voluntary associations will be on hand to talk about their experience in Madagascar

WORKSHOPS:
appointment until all available seats

Hours 10:30 to 12:00 and 15:30 to 17:00
Children aged 7 to 11 years

“The nature of the island”, edited by Coop. Silty
“Sounds and rhythms of Madagascar”, edited by Olga del Madagascar:

10:15, 11:30, 15:00, 16:15
For children 4 to 6 years accompanied by their parents

“The chameleon says narrates, animal stories and legends of Madagascar” by Barchetta Blu

INFORMATION AND RESERVATIONS:

The day is free entry until all the places available, except for laboratories that require an admission ticket to the museum (free for residents and people born in Venice, upon presentation of a photo ID).

To book workshops call 041 2750206

The photo exhibition will be open for free only on the occasion of this day and until August 2, 2015 is required to be in possession of a ticket to the museum.

 

Information shared by:

Franco Andreone
Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali
Via G. Giolitti, 36
I-10123 TORINO – ITALY
website www.francoandreone.it
Facebook www.facebook.com/franco.andreone
Twitter @francoandreone
Youtube Betampona
Youtube Isalo

10/9/14

Robin Moore, Conservationist, Photographer and Author of In Search of Lost Frogs

Exclusive!

Tune in tomorrow, October 10, 2014 at 3pm EST and meet…

Robin Moore, conservationist, photographer and author of “In Search of Lost Frogs.”

*** Now Replaying *** The podcast interview is here:
Webcast: Robin Moore interviewed by Susan Newman

Follow the event and comment on Facebook:

Robin Moore Interview on Facebook with Susan Newman (aka Suzy Brandtastic)

Robin Moore, Conservationist, Photographer, and Author of In Search of Lost Frogs

About Robin Moore:

Robin Moore is a conservationist, photographer and the author of In Search of Lost Frogs (In Search of Lost Frogs).

Since gaining a PhD in biodiversity conservation, Robin has been a powerful voice for amphibian conservation.

He is a Conservation Officer with Rainforest Trust, Global Wildlife Conservation and the Amphibian Survival Alliance, the largest global partnership for amphibian conservation.

He is a proud Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (www.ilcp.com), represented by National Geographic Creative, and recently Co-Founded Frame of Mind (www.frameofmind.org), an initiative that empowers youth around the world to connect with their natural and cultural worlds through photography and visual.

_____________________________________

About Suzy Brandtastic interviews:

Susan Newman, an environmentalist and brand visibility designer knows how important it is to tell your “why.” Susan hosts a podcast series, live action video series and a written interview series, all featuring environmentalists, innovators, creatives and small business owners.

06/12/14

Eco-Interview: Rosa Da Silva, Author of Jabujicaba, The Heart of Brazil

When was your organization founded? Please tell us a bit about its mission, goals…

Jabujicaba the book was published as an e-book at the end of April 2014. The paperback version is coming out this month. Behind it is an idea. Literally a ‘novel’ campaign.

On June 2nd 2014 the not-for-profit company Voices for Nature Limited was incorporated. This takes the campaign forward beyond the life-span of the book.

The people working on this creative project are young and green and Indie… but the ideas behind all this are long in the tooth.

 Jabujicaba by Rosa da Silva

What is your educational background and what led to creating this organization?

I am half German and half English. I grew up always on the move. I have lived in many different countries, including the US where both of my children were born. I speak lots of different languages. I would say I grew up with strong feelings for nature and none for national affiliations.

I studied Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge University (Spanish and German). It helps to explain my love for magic realism – Garcia Marques, Isabel Allende – Latin American authors – and German writers like Kafka and Brecht and socialist political art eg: George Grosz and Kaethe Kollwitz.

I worked in the environmental area for many years, with a professional background in policy, communications and campaigning. I was involved in the early days when social/human rights, economic and environmental agendas were merged into ‘sustainability’ – an unimaginative word. I have worked in many countries including Brazil and Africa.

Politically, I believe in intervention in the markets for the good of others. I think a civilized society needs to ensure fair and equal outcomes, not just opportunities (which we know not everybody is able to take advantage of). I believe people must always be intellectually curious and be free to question. I believe in activism and not turning a blind eye or the other cheek. I believe in courage. In the separation of church, judiciary and state.

Over the decades there has been no real progress on climate change or conservation. Climate change continues on the up and so does species extinction. Something is clearly not right about how we are trying to tackle these problems – we know so many facts, we can measure the path we are on and predict where we are going. As a species, human beings need to reconnect with all living creatures and realise our inter-dependence.

I think we can find the right path by re-engaging people emotionally so they feel part (and not in charge) of the natural world.

That is the impulse behind Jabujicaba the book and setting up Voices for Nature. But it is not just a feeling, it is a process of political engagement (with a small ‘p’).

 

What are some challenges you have faced and how did you deal with them?

Pursuing fairness is a huge and continual challenge in everything I have done in my varied professional career. I was always standing up and arguing with ‘authority’ whether it was with a teacher at school or bosses at work.

Being heard in all the noise of a global market place, which is a Babel, is a big challenge.

The only way forward is to keep repeating yourself and remembering core values and the goal ahead. But you can’t get to where you are going alone in life. You need the help of others. You need to inspire and lead and to do that you need to be empathetic and kind.

 white-nose coati from Jabujicaba

What can people do to help? Donate, and contribute to your cause? Other ideas?

I don’t want the interview to be about selling an idea or a project. It is for people listening to ask their own questions and maybe find some of their answers are aligned with mine. Then they might want to find more about what we are doing and help. They could maybe read the book. It has had good reviews.

 

How do you reach your targeted audience? Is it through your website, advertising or social media or another route? Which is most effective and why?

All possible routes are tried and taken, although we are trying to work bottom-up, Indie in everything. We wouldn’t say ‘no’ though if Harrison Ford stepped in to help our ambitions for a green Indiana Jones film! Sometimes ‘top down’ or celebrity endorsement can help you to get where you are going (although it is not without its dangers). Certainly we are using social media and word of mouth.

 

How do you keep the audience engaged over time?

By being happy, having fun, with lots of variety. Everything we do also has to ring an inner chord with the target audience of what really matters, the meaning of our existence, not just our individual life. Jabujicaba is not about simply ‘entertainment.’ Through our website we hope to engage people in other areas of their life – to campaign or to study or volunteer – or even just to take their children to the zoo but with a changed heart.

 

Tell us about your events around the world and some of the campaigns you have started.

When we made Jabujicaba the book available as a free download to test the audience, we found there was interest all over the world. About 700 copies were downloaded in 5 weeks.Take up is a lot less now, it costs a couple of dollars… We are still at the beginning of our journey.

Our campaigns, if you can call them such, involve around engaging with the books various stakeholders through interviews which explore the relationship between fact and fiction in the book. For instance, in the area of anthropology, with an anthropologist from Oxford University. Or in politics, with a green politician who did a ‘prequel’ meeting one of the characters in my book as a young man. Marco, who is the president of Brazil.

The focus of these interviews has been local and in the UK. We have tried to engage a little in the US, so far without success. It is hard not being there and time constraints mean you stay close to home.

Also the book is in English at the moment which restricts its target audience.

 rainforest in Brazil

What is in the works for the future? What haven’t you yet tackled, but will want to do soon?

We are working on Jabujicaba the film and progressing step by step. Jabujicaba as a ‘novel’ campaign is timed to coincide with the World Cup and Olympics in Brazil. After that, we plan Voices for Nature to kick in with our film initiative. Through film we will reach a much larger audience with our messages.

Longer term, we would like to fund and reward young people’s creative projects for rainforest conservation, using royalties from the book/film – a bit like Sophie’s World – and grow to a forest (metaphorically and literally).

 

Bonus!

Jabujicaba is about diversity in our own societies too – and social justice. We need to tackle these issues too.

All on www.jabujicaba.net – but also @ArchieAiredale (my dog!)

 

08/25/12

Frogs Are Blue!

Most people think frogs are green, right? And it’s true, most frogs are a greenish, brownish, yellowish color, the better to hide from predators among grass and other vegetation.

But frogs can be many different colors, even bright crayon colors like sky blue.

This three-centimeter-long blue tree frog in a tree in Chofu, western Tokyo. Courtesy of Toba Aquarium, Japan.

Why would a frog species evolve such a bright vivid color that would make it stand out? In most cases the frog, such as the colorful dart frogs, are giving a strong warning to predators: Don’t eat me! I’m poisonous! Either through instinct or through learning the hard way, predators will avoid them. These brightly colored frogs contain poisons that can kill or paralyze an animal that comes into contact with it.

The frog’s skin is not actually blue. The color comes from layers of chromotophores, or pigment-containing and light-reflecting cells between the dermis and epidermis (inner and outer skin layers). A blend of the three types of chromatophores creates the color, or in some cases, even transparency:

melanophores: contain pigments that appear black or brown from melanin

xanthophores: contain yellow colored pigments

iridophores: contain reflective or iridescent pigments

So although most of the time, frogs are green, sometimes Frogs Are Blue!