Protecting the Unique Frogs of Andasibe, Madagascar
Guest post by
Amphibian Conservation Director, Association Mitsinjo
It doesn’t get much better than a going into the forests of Andasibe at night. There are leaf-tailed geckos, mouse lemurs, sleeping chameleons, and frogs. Lots of frogs. More than 100 different species, in fact, which have been identified in the surrounding forests. This is more than a third of all described frog species on the island.
Most of these frogs are nocturnal, but a few are also active during the day, like the Critically Endangered golden mantella (Mantella aurantiaca), which is only found in a small area near Andasibe in east-central Madagascar.
The conservation organization Mitsinjo works in the area around Andasibe, and is composed of 53 members of the community.
Our activities include:
- Habitat management
- Nature-based tourism
- Captive breeding
- Environmental education
A group of our projects are targeted specifically at monitoring and addressing the threats our unique local frog species face. This includes the development of Madagascar’s first biosecure captive breeding facility capable of establishing assurance survival colonies of threatened amphibians.
Additionally, we conduct surveys to monitoring for declines and population changes. This activity compliments participation in a nation-wide early detection plan for the chytrid fungus Bd, the devastating pathogen contributing to alarming amphibian extinctions around the world. Fortunately, so far we have not detected Bd in Andasibe and reports elsewhere in Madagascar remain highly doubtful and unconfirmed.
Recently, Mitsinjo joined forces with the NGO Madagasikara Voakajy to contribute to the national conservation strategy for the golden mantella. Each month, we monitor three breeding sites at Torotorofotsy Wetland. This area is under tremendous pressure from artisanal gold mining, slash-and-burn agriculture, and charcoal production. Our habitat patrols help to ensure the breeding sites for this highly threatened amphibian remain intact.
To learn more about our organization like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Mitsinjo) and visit our website www.mitsinjo.org. For more information on amphibian conservation in Madagascar see www.sahonagasy.org