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This is the second in a series of posts from Dr. Kriger's 2017 visit to Brazil. Read about Dr. Kriger's first night in Brazil here.

Minas Gerais, Brazil, is one of the world's amphibian hotspots. The state is home over 200 amphibian species and a variety of ecosystems, including the Atlantic Rainforest and the Cerrado. On March 27th, 2017, SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger visited PUC Minas Museum of Natural Sciences in Belo Horizonte (the capital of Minas Gerais) to spread the amphibian conservation message at one of the top universities in the country. Dr. Kriger gave an hour long presentation in Portuguese - his first ever Portuguese presentation - to over 100 undergraduate and graduate students, discussing why frogs are disappearing worldwide and what can be done to save them. The students were extremely enthusiastic about SAVE THE FROGS! and have already begun planning future SAVE THE FROGS! activities in Minas Gerais.

“Hey Kerry! Thank you again for the wonderful presentation! I really hope to get to participate and volunteer with SAVE THE FROGS!. Hope I get to know a lot more about the organization and can be a big help!! :) “
-- Camille Hoffmaster, Biologist, PUC Minas

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SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger with the next generation of Brazilian conservationists at PUC Minas in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

"Foto incrível de uma palestra incrível de uma pessoa incrível! Eu não tinha ideia do quanto tava cheio até ver essa foto! #SAVETHEFROGS"
- Amanda Alcântara

 

Listen to Dr. Kriger's presentation in Portuguese:
(VIDEO COMING SOON!)

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View Dr. Kriger's Presentation Slides

PUC Minas Luisa


More Belo Horizonte Event Photos

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“Quando uma pessoa te inspira pelo jeito, carisma e pelo trabalho, e te mostra várias outras portas para novos caminhos, e te deixa feliz e empolgada e certa de que você está no rumo dos seus sonhos. Obrigada” @eterovickpaula!!! @savethefrogs ♡♡♡
-- Amanda Alcântara

PUC Minas Career Success

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"It was great to meet you Kerry. It was a pleasure to hear you talk about your project, I hope to be a part of it someday!"
Davi Oliveira

PUC Minas climate change

PUC Minas KK Paula Cabral Eterovick Italo Moreira
“Ótima palestra hoje no V Simpósio de Zoologia da PUC Minas!!! E ao lado de duas pessoas que são uma grande inspiração!!! #savethefrogs "
-- Italo Moreira

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PUC Minas Luciana Nascimento Lab Group 4a
In the lab of Dr. Luciana Nascimento, who has described many new amphibin species from Minas Gerais.

PUC Minas pollution

PUC Minas Raoni art

PUC Minas symposium

PUC Minas science

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Dr. Kriger outside the PUC Minas Museu de Ciências Naturais (Museum of Natural Sciences)

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PUC Frog On Wall

 

Help Us Save Amphibians In Brazil

SAVE THE FROGS! protects amphibian populations and empowers ordinary citizens to make extraordinary contributions to the betterment of the planet. If you enjoyed this article about the first of many SAVE THE FROGS! activities in Minas Gerais, we would greatly appreciate your financial support! Please donate to SAVE THE FROGS! and then email us at contact@savethefrogs.com to ask us to direct your donation to our efforts in Brazil. As they say in Brazil, OBRIGADO! (Thank you!)

All amphibian biologists and frog-lovers alike remember and appreciate the beautiful golden toad of Costa Rica. It is important to take a moment to celebrate this amazing amphibian and reflect on the many other amphibian species that have gone extinct in recent decades. Their loss reminds us to keep working harder and smarter in order to stop the amphibian extinction crisis. Although the golden toad is gone forever, we can work together to save other endangered amphibians.

Please spread the word about the amphibian extinction crisis, donate today to contribute to our conservation efforts and join a future SAVE THE FROGS! Costa Rica Ecotour to visit the majestic forest where the golden toad once thrived. Thank you for your support!

golden toad shirt
Golden Toad art, created by FLOAT.

Ready for an experience of a lifetime? Then join a SAVE THE FROGS! Costa Rica Ecotour, which will encompass the rainforest, cloud forest, volcanoes, mangroves and an abundance of opportunities to find and photograph amphibians. Costa Rica has an incredible array of biodiversity, landscapes and ecosystems. Costa Rica is home to 202 known amphibian species all within a very small geographical area. There are lots of frogs to be found, making Costa Rica a perfect place for a SAVE THE FROGS! Ecotour. Pura Vida!

Learn more about SAVE THE FROGS! Costa Rica Ecotours:
- SAVE THE FROGS! Costa Rica Ecotour 2017

Interested in joining SAVE THE FROGS! in Costa Rica?
Please fill out the form below to be alerted about upcoming ecotours to Costa Rica.

"I am so excited to be joining SAVE THE FROGS! on their first Costa Rica Ecotour in 2017! A trip of a lifetime--I have always wanted to go see frogs in Costa Rica, and now I am doing so with two incredible scientists, Kerry Kriger and Michael G Starkey. This supports the great nonprofit SAVE THE FROGS! as well! They do fantastic work--founder Kerry Kriger and his team are making a difference worldwide!"
- Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, California Director of the National Wildlife Federation & SAVE THE FROGS! Board Member

Ola from Belo Horizonte, Brazil!

I arrived last night in Brazil and I met such an amazing toad that I decided to send you photos right away and tell you why I am in Brazil.

Brazil is home to 1,036 known amphibian species -- 14% of the world's amphibian biodiversity! That's more than any other country on the planet. Brazil is also home to the Atlantic Rainforest and the majority of the Amazon Basin — both threatened by rampant environmental destruction. And Brazil has many amphibian biologists interested in SAVE THE FROGS! and our methods of translating science into concrete actions for the betterment of amphibians and humans. So Brazil is an extremely important place for amphibian conservation and for launching SAVE THE FROGS! activities.

rhinella icterica
I found my first amphibian within one minute of stepping outside my very first night in the country! Could it be an omen that I will find and save many frogs while here in Brazil? I hope so! This beautiful toad is Rhinella icterica, whose indigenous name is Cururu, which refers to its melodious call.

aposematic coloration
This toad has aposematic coloration...in other words it has an amazing system of defense against predators. Aside from its usual toad toxins concentrated in its paratoid glands, it has coloration on its back resembling two large eyes, which make the toad appear to be a large animal to be avoided. In essence, its backside coloration says "BACK OFF!"

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Saving The Frogs In Brazil

I will be in Brazil for the next two months, improving my Portuguese, photographing amphibians, and giving presentations.

To celebrate the 9th Annual Save The Frogs Day (9th Annual Save The Frogs Day), I have several days of events scheduled in São Paulo state:

A presentation to graduate students of ecology at the State University of Campinas, Institute of Biology (Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Instituto de Biologia)
A presentation at the São Paulo Zoo
A presentation to kids at a school in Campinas
Searching for endangered frogs outside Campinas

These activities are being organized by the Natural History Lab of Brazilian Amphibians (Laboratório de História Natural de Anfíbios Brasileiros).

This weekend I meet with amphibian biologists from the Laboratório de Ecologia Evolutiva de Anfíbios e Répteis in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais state and I expect that we will organize a variety of educational activities here in Minas Gerais...which I will be post photos of shortly!

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Logo designed by Raoni Rebouças and inspired by Phrynomedusa appendiculata, an extinct species that lived in the Atlantic Rainforest; most of the Phrynomedusa genus is gone unfortunately.

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Funding My Frog Saving Activities In Brazil

I bought my ticket to Brazil with my own money. Right now I seek your generous assistance to pay for the cost of:

My Brazil Entry Visa ($210)
Yes it was that expensive, "in reciprocity for similar fees charged by the USA to Brazil citizens".

My Transportation Expenses ($500)
Brazil is a very large country. I need to be able to get to all my frog presentations and field sites.

Portuguese Lessons ($500)
One hour per day, five days per week, for one month. My ability to speak Portuguese will have a direct impact on the future of SAVE THE FROGS! in Brazil, the most amphibian diverse country on Earth. Have you ever wondered why SAVE THE FROGS! has so many activities throughout the Spanish-speaking world? It's in large part because 18 years ago I taught myself Spanish and have continued my Spanish studies ever since. Speaking the native language has been the key to success when I have visited Spanish-speaking countries, and I want similar success here in Brazil. One of my top rules of giving a presentation that inspires people to take action is to speak in a language the audience understands. My plan is to give my presentations in Portuguese, and to do that I will need private lessons (and a lot of practice!). Please help make that possible by assisting my continuing education and the expansion of my language skills...for the betterment of frogkind!

Please donate now and help me reach my fundraising goal of $1,210 to ensure the success of SAVE THE FROGS! in Brazil:
www.savethefrogs.com/donate

Regardless of when you read this post, you can donate through the link above then email contact@savethefrogs.com asking us to direct your donation towards SAVE THE FROGS! Brazil activities. Your donation is fully tax-deductible.

If you have ever thought that perhaps it is unnecessary to donate because SAVE THE FROGS! has all the funds we need to protect the world's amphibians...please go ahead and donate if you are contemplating it. There are so few people in the world who care as much about amphibians as you: your donation is far more important than you realize.

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I found this toad in the Amazon north of Manaus (Reserva Adolfo Ducke) in 2008.

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My History In Brazil

This is my 4th trip to Brazil. Here is a brief summary of my experiences here.

2000:
I crossed the border from Uruguay into southern Brazil and headed all the way up the coast to the mouth of the Amazon at Belem. I sat on more 18 and 24 hour bus rides than you can imagine. I hiked and camped along the way at Ilha Grande, Chapada Diamantina and Jericoacoara. I went up the Amazon to Santarem and Alter do Chao, then south on the Rio Tapajos, a tributary of the Amazon so wide that I could not see the far shore. I spoke no Portuguese when I arrived in Brazil, but 10 days later I had converted my Spanish knowledge to Portuguese and was having conversations with locals. I used the Barron's Portuguese book to learn the fundamentals of Portuguese.

2001:
I hiked three days from the base of Roraima in Venezuela to get to the summit of Mt. Roraima and eventually to the Punto Triple (Triple Point), where Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil meet. Roraima is the highest of the tepuis (table top mountains), and one of the oldest places on the planet (the rock is slow to erode). I found endemic frogs in puddles on the summit. The frogs live nowhere else on the planet, confined to their island in the sky. I spent about 30 minutes in Brazil and returned to Venezuela.

2008:
I gave my first ever SAVE THE FROGS! presentation. Six months earlier I had founded SAVE THE FROGS! and I thought an appropriate place to announce SAVE THE FROGS! and my plans for it would be at the 6th World Congress of Herpetology in Manaus. After my presentation, I helped track jaguars in the Adolfo Ducke Reserve and then headed north on a bus and crossed into Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.

2017:
With your financial assistance (or without it...just with a lot more difficulty), I will spread the SAVE THE FROGS! message throughout Brazil, and send you lots of amazing amphibian photos and success stories!

6th World Congress Herpetology Manaus
The very first slide of the very first SAVE THE FROGS! presentation I ever gave, in August 2008 at the 6th World Congress of Herpetology in Manaus, Brazil. Was my title correct? Will you donate to ensure we have the funds to continue to pave a better way forward?

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You Can Learn Portuguese

Ready to learn another language? Teach yourself Portuguese or a number of other languages using the free apps Duolingo and Memrise. Listen to the podcast called BrazilianPodClass. I study with these and I've also been reading the Barron's book "501 Portuguese verbs", which has 18 tenses of 501 different verbs, each in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person singular and plural forms...for a grand total of 54,108 verb varieties! Wish me luck!

memrise portuguese
I'll feel a lot better when I'm up to 1,000 words mastered! Your donation today will help me hire the assistance of a private tutor to ensure I can most effectively communicate our mission to the people of Brazil.

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Please take a few minutes to donate if you agree that Brazil is one of the most important places on the planet for us to be saving frogs!

There aren't many people on the planet with the ability to go virtually anywhere in the world and create significant, positive action for endangered amphibians and their habitats. I can - with your financial support.

Please donate today and help fund our SAVE THE FROGS! efforts here in Brazil.
Thank you!

odontophrynus brazil
I was going to end with a photo of me, but this Odontophrynus is a lot better looking! Photo courtesy Leandro Moraes.

Thank you for your interest in SAVE THE FROGS!, and please be sure to forward this post to all your frog-loving friends. We depend on you to spread the word and help grow this movement.

“Dear Kerry, I can only help with $20 at the moment for your journey in Brazil for SAVE THE FROGS!, but I also want to wish you much success and fortune in paving the way to save those wonderful and special creatures. I loved your straight forward and honest email and hope you’ll learn Portuguese fast enough to speak it well to the locals. Have a great journey and hope to hear more about your experiences. All the best.”
-- Maya D., London, United Kingdom

The Night Spirit Frog (Leptopelis spiritusnoctis) is considered Ghana’s most beloved frog. For many artists and frog lovers in Ghana and around the globe, it is the poster child for the beauty of nature, thanks first and foremost to its distinctively large silver-grey eyes, just one feature that makes it particularly adorable.
 
Night spirit frog

Congratulations to SAVE THE FROGS! KNUST Chapter for winning their second grant from the UK-based Rufford Foundation. The £5,000 (~$6,000) award will enable the chapter to monitor endangered frogs with cutting-edge surveying technology. Chapter members will deploy automated acoustic devices along the KNUST campus’ Wewe River to monitor endangered frogs as part of the KNUST Wewe River Amphibian Project (K-WRAP). Additionally, the students will plant 1,000 native trees, in addition to providing and waste bins to dispose of trash properly along the Wewe River. Campaigns to use the trash bins to help protect the river and its frogs will spread the conservation message in the Kumasi urban areas and beyond.
 
KNUST chapter planting trees along wewe river
The SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana KNUST Chapter is the first student-run organization of the USA-based SAVE THE FROGS!, based in Kumasi, Ghana. Revegetating river corridors like the Wewe River (pictured), where rare frogs occur, is a major pillar of their campaign to save Ghana's frogs.
 
 
Previously, biologists throughout Africa have relied primarily on traditional survey methods such as walking streams to listen for frogs, or using traps and bare hands to catch frogs. These methods are time-consuming and can disturb frogs and their habitats. However, remotely-operated acoustic devices will record and store frog calls automatically for subsequent analysis and identification. The employment of this new technology will provide reliable results without necessarily having physical contact with frogs or disturbing their fragile habitats.
 
KNUST chapter field training
The members of SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana KNUST Chapter learn about amphibians in the field under the tutelage of Gilbert Adum, one of West Africa's most prominent herpetologists.
 
 
Due to its geographical and biodiversity importance, the Wewe River was selected by students to pilot the use of the acoustic devices. Wewe River is a primary drainage system for one of southern Ghana’s largest watersheds and also home to 12 frog species and several other important wildlife species such as the vulnerable West African Dwarf Crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis). Unfortunately, many of these species’ populations are declining drastically due to illegal farming activities, fuel-wood extraction, and inappropriate waste disposal in the Wewe River. Thus, K-WRAP initiated as a timely rapid response to prevent the disappearance of frogs. Without frogs, the Wewe River would support the high local biodiversity present today.

To learn more about K-WRAP, please visit:
www.savethefrogs2.com/easyblog/restoring-degraded-habitats-for-amphibians-in-southern-ghana
Kaya Klop-Toker, a researcher studying the ecology of amphibians at the University of Newcastle in Australia, tells the story of the most memorable trip of her life. Her trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon, close to where we'll visit on the 2017 SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotour, was a life-changing experience. The sights and sounds are memories she'll carry with her forever. Only two spaces remain on the 2017 SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotour taking place June 8th through June 20th. Please be sure to fill out the Ecotour Expression of Interest Form if you are interested in joining any SAVE THE FROGS! Ecotour now or in the future. Read on to explore the wonder of the Amazon.
 

If you get an opportunity to spend time looking for frogs in the Amazon, you should take it! In 2008 I spent 10 weeks as a volunteer research assistant in the Ecuadorian rainforest. It was the best 10 weeks of my life. I was based in the lowland rainforest of Yasuni National Park, which is arguably the most biodiverse place on the planet. The journey getting there was in itself quite an adventure.
 
Ranitomeya ventrimaculata ecuador kaya klop toker
This blue and red poison frog (Ranitomeya ventrimaculata) carries tadpoles on its back. They have been seen in bromeliads more than 100 feet above the forest floor.

After arriving in the Ecuadorian capital Quito, I flew to the small town of Trinidad where I caught a taxi with a driver named Darwin (which felt like a very fateful name indeed). Darwin drove me to the Rio Napo, where I unloaded my gear under the shade of a beautiful large cecropia tree, took in the rich smell of the tropics, and waited for my turn to be ferried in a small dugout canoe across the large brown river.

Once across the river, I met my contact and drove another hour through thick jungle, until we came to my destination and home for the next two months. I was volunteering for a research team studying recently discovered frog species that live in bromeliads, high above the canopy, in the branches of emergent trees.
 
frog ecuador kaya klop toker
Ecuador contains an area of one of the highest densities of frogs in the world! That means when you explore at night, you're guaranteed to find frogs.

During both the day and night, we walked through the forest searching for frogs. A walk through Yasuni National Park was never disappointing. In the day, the forest was bright, warm, and quiet – completely opposite to the dark, impenetrable landscape, full of animal calls. In the early mornings, the myriad of bird life would recite their morning chorus, often accompanied by the loud, long, guttural calls of howler monkeys.

However, during the heat of day, the birds and monkeys would subdue their calls and one could walk through the forest in pleasant, tranquil state. This quietness, however, did not equate to a lack of wildlife, and if I paid attention, I was often rewarded with numerous frog and lizard sightings along the path. Poison dart frogs were regularly encountered in the day, as well as hundreds of tiny juvenile frogs, no bigger than my finger nail. Large, languid tegu lizards would saunter across the path, and occasionally an unsuspecting tortoise.
 
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This brown treefrog can be found at night among many of species of frog in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

At night we discovered bright-green monkey treefrogs, which frequently walk on their long, skinny legs rather than jump; beautiful chocolate brown treefrogs, which look like the hopping frog confectionary from Harry Potter; and big Smokey jungle frogs with a Latin name that rolls off the tongue: Leptodactylus pentadactylus.

Nightime also revealed the beautifully-colored and aptly-named rainbow boa constrictors, and horrifyingly alien-looking, yet harmless whip scorpions. If it rained a lot and we were lucky, we found miniature snub-nosed salamanders or giant earthworms, commonly mistaken for caecilians until we felt their rough segmentation. Listing all the animals we found would take pages; such is the variety of life in the Amazon. Every time I left my accommodation, I found a unique and fascinating creature. It was like being a naïve child again where everything you see is a new, amazing discovery.
 
Epipedobates bilinguis ecuador kaya klop toker
This poison frog with yellow armpits is Ameerega bilinguis, a frog commonly found in undisturbed, primary forests of Ecuador and Colombia.

Although it has been nine years, the time I spent in the Ecuadorian Amazon continues to remain one of my most exciting memories. I made lifelong friends. I furthered our knowledge of these threatened and enigmatic animals and learned skills that have been valuable to my career in amphibian conservation. However, just the experience of being immersed in the Amazon is enough to make it worthwhile. To be surrounded by jungle that stretches as far as the eye can see, to smell that rich, sweet air, and to see such variation of life is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I hope to experience again.
 

To learn more about SAVE THE FROGS! Ecotours, visit:
http://savethefrogs.com/ecotours
 

Cloud forests are truly fascinating ecosystems that contain rich biodiversity and amphibian species found nowhere else in the world. This year during the SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotour we will spend three nights in the remarkable cloud forest ecosystem of the Mindo Valley. The Mindo Valley is not just beautiful and pristine, but its history contains a unique story of conservation, ecotourism, and sustainable development. The dedicated individuals who live in the Mindo Valley started a movement to protect this incredible landscape because they are passionate about the many plants and animals that call this cloud forest home.

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Red Spotted Glass Frog (Nymphargus grandisonae) photo by Melvin Grey, 2017 Ecuador Ecotour participant

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently took actions to approve a long term management plan that includes spending taxpayer dollars to drain the Sharp Park Wetlands. The City of San Francisco has a documented history of harming, killing and harassing federally protected California Red-Legged Frogs (Rana draytonii) when they drain this rare wetland ecosystem. Their reason to drain the wetlands: to create dry land for a money-losing golf course. 

SAVE THE FROGS! partners have appealed the Board's actions and an appeal hearing will take place February 28th, 2017. Click here to see the letter submitted to the SF Board of Supervisors by SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger on February 15th, 2017. Right now we need your help to ensure the City knows there is widespread opposition to their frog-killing plans.

Please email the SF Board of Supervisors today and tell them you oppose the proposed Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan until and unless the Sharp Park Golf Course redevelopment is removed from the plan! You can use the sample email below.

Sample Email (Please sign your name at the bottom of it):

MAIL TO (copy all these email addresses into the CC: field of your composed email):
Board.of.Supervisors@sfgov.org, Sandra.Fewer@sfgov.org, Mark.Farrell@sfgov.org, Aaron.Peskin@sfgov.org, Katy.Tang@sfgov.org, London.Breed@sfgov.org, Conor.Johnston@sfgov.org, Jane.Kim@sfgov.org, Norman.Yee@sfgov.org, Jeff.Sheehy@sfgov.org, Hillary.Ronen@sfgov.org, Malia.Cohen@sfgov.org, Ahsha.Safai@sfgov.org, brent.jalipa@sfgov.org

Subject:
Please protect wetlands and reject any SNRAMP that includes golf course redevelopment

Dear San Francisco Board of Supervisors:
I am writing to urge you to reject the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the proposed Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan (SNRAMP), unless and until the Sharp Park Golf Course redevelopment is removed from the plan. The vast majority of California’s wetlands have been drained, degraded and destroyed. Sharp Park is home to federally protected, endangered California Red-Legged Frogs (Rana draytonii), California’s official state amphibian. The Board of Supervisors should work to protect, rather than to kill, harm and harass these frogs, which is what happens when the City pumps the Sharp Park Wetlands out to sea, causing the frogs’ egg masses to be stranded on dry land. I wholeheartedly oppose any usage of taxpayer funds that results in the destruction of rare wetland ecosystems or the degradation of important wildlife habitat. Using taxpayer dollars to drain wetlands for non-essential purposes is thoroughly unethical. As such, I again request that you not approve any version of a Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan that condones or funds such activities. Please see www.savethefrogs.com/sharp-park for more info, and remember that there are over 1,000 other golf courses in California.

Golf Is Cool

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Speak up at San Francisco City Hall February 28th, 2017

Our Appeal hearing before the SF Board of Supervisors is on Tuesday, February 28th at 3:00pm in San Francisco City Hall, Room 250. We need you there at 3:00pm so that you can speak in support of our appeal and protecting Sharp Park wildlife! Please email Julia Chang Frank at Julia4th@yahoo.com if you can be there, and she will provide you with talking points. Thank you for taking action for amphibians!

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California Red-Legged Frog eggs stranded on land

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Learn More & Donate

Visit www.savethefrogs.com/sharp-park to learn more. Donate at www.savethefrogs.com/donate to ensure SAVE THE FROGS! has the necessary funds to protect, create and restore amphibian habitat in California, across the USA and around the world. Thank you!

sharp park san francisco

Donate | Expedition Leader Biraj Shrestha | Biraj's Story | Meet The Team |
Expedition Activities | Why Frogs | Mission Of The Expedition

Help us protect the beautiful stream frogs of Manaslu in Nepal’s remote Himalayas!

SAVE THE FROGS! seeks your help in raising $3,223 to fund a frog conservation initiative in the remote Himalayas of Nepal. SAVE THE FROGS! Task Force Member Biraj Shrestha will be returning to the Manaslu Conservation Area in March 2017 for a three week research expedition into some of the world’s most dangerous montane amphibian habitats. The "SAVE MANASLU’S FROGS! Research Expedition" is the first expedition of its kind and we are depending on your generous donation to ensure the success of this expedition. Further down this page, you can read about the specifics of the expedition, learn about Manaslu's frog species, meet the expedition team members, and of course donate to make it all happen!

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biraj shrestha nepal

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Meet The Expedition Leader, SAVE THE FROGS! Task Force Member Biraj Shrestha

Biraj is an avid amphibian lover from Nepal who has been actively involved in research and conservation of amphibians for more than five years. In 2013, Biraj became engaged with SAVE THE FROGS! as a volunteer and has expanded amphibian conservation efforts through holding annual Save The Frogs Day events in different regions of Nepal, winning multiple Save The Frogs Day grants to enable his educational activities. In 2016 he took part in and completed the SAVE THE FROGS! 90-Day Challenge. He currently serves on the SAVE THE FROGS! Task Force. Biraj is also a recipient of grants from the Rufford Small Grants Foundation and The Pollination Project. These grants have enabled Biraj to conduct amphibian research and education projects to save the frogs from extinction in the Manaslu Conservation Area. Biraj holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from Khwopa College (affiliated to Tribhuvan University) with a specialty in Biodiversity Conservation and Wildlife Management. With your financial assistance, Biraj will be leading the March 2017 SAVE MANASLU'S FROGS Research Expedition to the remote Himalayas.

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SAVE THE FROGS! Task Force Member Biraj Shrestha with a lovely Nanorana liebigii.

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Biraj Shrestha and the members of Resources Himalaya Foundation organized this Save The Frogs Day event in 2015.

Biraj’s Story

In 2012, I visited the Manaslu Conservation Area for the first time to carry out my dissertation on herpetological inventory as part of my Master’s degree requirement. Manaslu is characterized by gigantic mountains, including the eighth highest peak on earth, Mt. Manaslu (8,163 m). The region has glaciers, high altitude lakes, and rich biodiversity. I saw that the local communities hunt stream frogs, locally called paha. The frog’s meat is considered a local delicacy, free of cost, and is presumed to have health benefits. Hunting frogs is also considered a mode of recreation in remote villages. Local use of paha has been rampant in most of the mountainous regions of Nepal from time immemorial, which spells grave danger for frog survival as the Nepalese human population is growing rapidly.

save the frogs day manaslu
Biraj Shrestha (far right) organized this Save The Frogs Day event in Manaslu, Nepal in 2016.

To ameliorate the situation, I developed a research and conservation education project called ‘Saving Mountain Frogs (Paha) Before It’s Too Late; Conservation Effort at Manaslu Conservation Area, Gorkha District, Nepal’, which got funded by The Rufford Foundation (United Kingdom) in early 2016. Along with my team members I visited Manaslu in late spring 2016, and we did field work in six villages (Village Development Committees) and documented the presence of four amphibian species: Amolops formosus, Nanorana liebigii, Ombrana sikimensis and Duttaphrynus himalayanus. The first three are known as paha, and are often consumed by local communities at Manaslu.

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Hunting paha is a common activity in montane regions of Nepal.

Mission of the Expedition & Expedition Rationale

In March 2017, I will lead a month long expedition to the remote mountains of Manaslu Conservation Area (Gorkha district), western Nepal to do follow-up amphibian surveys and conduct conservation education programs at Manaslu. The mission of the expedition is to gather baseline information on Manaslu’s amphibian population, and to educate and empower local communities on amphibian conservation.

searching for frogs
Searching For Frogs

The SAVE MANASLU’S FROGS! Research Expedition will comprise a team of experts with skills in amphibian science, wildlife research, high altitude expeditions, photography and environmental conservation. We will hike the trails of Manaslu (17 days worth of trekking), crossing huge mountain passes separated by the strong currents of Budhi Gandaki River. The entry point is Jagat which is three days walk from Soti; to reach Soti it takes two days drive from the capital city, Kathmandu.

sama gau
The route to Sama Gau, Manasla Conservation Area

During our September 2016 expedition, on our fourth day of hiking, we were approaching the village of Tatopani when a huge landslide occurred right in front of our eyes. The landslide, caused by continuous rainfall, killed four people and left many trekkers wounded. Sadly, on top of the deaths we witnessed, we had to halt our journey as the landslide had blocked the route completely. But now we are ready to revisit Manaslu in March 2017 and resume our conservation endeavors. We are relying on your precious donations to make this expedition happen! Please donate and help us fund this expedition. Thank you!

landslide tatopani
The buried trail where the Tatopani landslide killed four trekkers in September 2016.

Meet The Frogs

Amolops formosus got its name ‘Beautiful stream frog’ because of the design in mosaic of chromatophores at the dorsal surface of the olive to brown colored body. Its body is slender, with adhesive round digits, and it is often seen clinging to steep edges of cascades. It is mostly dependent upon streams and riparian habitats. This frog is distributed across an elevation range of 1,000-2,500m.

Amolops formosus
Amolops formosus

Nanorana liebigii is the most widely hunted paha across Nepal and is generally larger than other stream dwelling frogs. The males are characterized by the presence of black spiny tubercles at the ventral forelimbs that aid in reproduction. It has been recorded at elevations from 1,500-3,500m, usually inhabiting mountain brooks and depositing their eggs on the underside of stones.

nanorana liebigii
Nanorana liebigii photo by Biraj Shrestha

Ombrana sikimensis is a mountain-stream dependent species. They are often found in shallow water hiding under stones, between 1,000 to 2,000m elevation. Little is known about their ecology. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has placed its population status as rare and on decreasing trend.

ombrana sikimensis
Ombrana sikimensis photo by Biraj Shrestha


Timeline Of The Expedition
March 1 - March 31, 2017

soti nepal
The trail near Soti

Activities To Be Carried Out
•    We will conduct follow-up amphibian surveys at streams, agricultural farms, and forests in the Manaslu Conservation Area.
•    We will hold Amphibian Conservation Dissemination Workshops with local community at four out of seven villages (VDCs) in Manaslu Conservation Area, involving members from the Conservation Area Management Committee (CAMC), Anti Poaching Unit (APU), Forest Management Committee (FMC), students, teachers, and hotels.
•    We will distribute educational color posters to locals with paha conservation message in the native Nepali language.
•    We will establish Amphibian Conservation Groups (ACGs) to expand the environmental awareness of the public through discouraging paha hunting and use while spreading paha conservation message among the uniformed ones.
•    We plan to conduct Amphibian Educational Excursion with Amphibian Conservation Groups at local streams.
•    We will document the procedures of medicinal use, processing, storage and local food practice of paha in detail from Manaslu.

Please donate today and help us raise the $3,223 necessary to conduct this month long research expedition.

measure frog
Taking body length measurements on a frog.

philim sirdibas
Save The Frogs Day presentation at Philim Sirdibas VDC.

Team Members

SAVE THE FROGS! Task Force Member and Expedition Leader Biraj Shrestha will be joined by wildlife researcher Naresh Kusi and photographer/researcher Sanej Prasad Suwal.

lho nepal
Biraj Shrestha speaking at an elementary school in Lho, Nepal (3,500m above sea level).

Naresh Kusi
Naresh’s research interests include predator-prey dynamics in the higher Himalayas, floral investigations, and exploration of wildlife-tourism potential.

sanej suwal
Sanej Suwal restoring habitat.

manaslu waterfalls
Waterfalls in Manaslu

Why Save The Frogs?
•    Tadpoles often help to clean the water by consuming organic debris, algae.
•    Frogs check the pest population that transfer disease to humans and also help control pests that infest crops. Thus they are regarded as the farmer’s friend.
•    Frogs hold a special role in the food web as they are an important source of food to fish, lizards, snakes, birds and few mammals.
•    Frogs are the bioindicators.
•    Frogs are BEAUTIFUL!

paha frogs
An educational poster Biraj prepared to raise awareness of the environmental impact of paha hunting.

lalitpur resources himalaya foundation
Biraj speaking at in 2013 at the Save The Frogs Day event in Lalitpur organized by Resources Himalaya Foundation.

Donate Here To Fund The SAVE MANASLU'S FROGS Research Expedition!

Your Donation Is Critical To The Success Of This Expedition
This is the first fundraising initiative for SAVE THE FROGS! amphibian conservation efforts in Nepal. Please donate today! Share your amphibian love by supporting this project: we appreciate your generosity.

donate frogs

jagat nepal
With your generous assistance, this SAVE THE FROGS! research expedition will arrive at Manaslu with all the supplies needed to make this month long journey a success and return home safely.

Please share this page with your friends and colleagues, thank you!

You can also donate by mail: please make checks payable to SAVE THE FROGS! and mail to:
SAVE THE FROGS!
1968 S. Coast Hwy Suite 622
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Together we can SAVE MANASLU'S FROGS!

Presentation by Professor Phil Bishop: The Conservation of New Zealand frogs -  the ancient weirdos of the amphibian World!

On February 13th, 2017, we held the inaugural SAVE THE FROGS! Australia New Zealand Video Conference, attended by participants from four countries. Professor Phil Bishop gave a presentation on the conservation of New Zealand's frogs - the ancient weirdos of the amphibian world. This free online event consisted of an hour long presentation followed by ample time for discussion about all things related to the conservation of amphibians in the South Pacific.

"Definitely a great conference, I have been fascinated by NZ frogs and I look forward to the next date."
Stefano Rambaldi, Italy

Please register for upcoming Australia/New Zealand conferences here.

Professor Bishop has spent the last 20 years working with the ancient native frogs of New Zealand. Originally intending to discover how these unusually silent frogs communicate, his focus shifted towards amphibian conservation management as the phenomenon of global amphibian declines gained momentum. The leiopelmatid frogs of New Zealand are voiceless and earless, with a number of unusual and unique morphological characters. Out of the breeding season they have a daily behavioural repertoire very similar to a small stone! Phil is a Professor of Zoology at the University of Otago (New Zealand) and in his spare time is the Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group and the Chief Scientist of the Amphibian Survival Alliance.

See you online!

Phil Bishop frogs
Professor Phil Bishop

phil bishop new zealand
The Survival of The Earth Depends on Frogs

Additional Resources:

Native frog (Leiopelma spp.) recovery plan, 2013–2018
Phillip J. Bishop, Lisa A. Daglish, Amanda J.M. Haigh, Leigh J. Marshall, Mandy D. Tocher and Kate L. McKenzie

Native Frog Leiopelma Recovery Plan

Wetlands are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems. They provide essential services and supply drinking water. However, degradation and conversion for other land-use continues.

On February 2 every year since 1997, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and citizen groups at all levels of the community have taken the opportunity to carry out events and activities aimed at raising awareness among the general public about the value ​​of wetlands.

World Wetlands Day raises awareness around the world about the value of wetlands to humanity and the planet.
To this end, SAVE THE FROGS! Buenos Aires organized an event with various educational activities related to amphibians and wetlands.

Saturday, February 4 at 4 PM - 7:30 PM
Ecological Reserve Costanera Norte

 

Join Us!

Naty and Sofia

buenosaires@savethefrogs.com

 

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Día Mundial De Los Humedales con SAVE THE FROGS! Buenos Aires


Los humedales están entre los ecosistemas más diversos y productivos. Proporcionan servicios esenciales y suministran toda nuestra agua potable. Sin embargo, continúa su degradación y conversión para otros usos.

Desde 1997, todos los años organismos oficiales, organizaciones no gubernamentales y grupos de ciudadanos de todos los niveles de la comunidad han aprovechado la oportunidad para realizar actos y actividades encaminados a aumentar la sensibilización del público en general acerca de los valores de los humedales y los beneficios que reportan en general y a la Convención de Ramsar en concreto.

El Día Mundial de los Humedales se celebra cada año el 02 de febrero para crear conciencia en todo el mundo acerca del valor de los humedales para la humanidad y el planeta.
En el marco de dichos festejos, SAVE THE FROGS! Buenos Aires se suma a dicho evento realizando diferentes actividades educativas relacionadas con los anfibios y los humedales.

Saturday, February 4 at 4 PM - 7:30 PM
Reserva Ecológica Costanera Norte


¡SUMATE!

Naty y Sofia
buenosaires@savethefrogs.com

We are pleased to announce the inaugural SAVE THE FROGS! Camp Out, which will take place at the Ashton Biological Preserve in northern Florida from April 14th to 16th, 2017! Florida has an incredible array of biodiversity, landscapes and ecosystems, and is home to about 57 known amphibian species, making it a perfect place to hold the inaugural SAVE THE FROGS! Camp Out. We will have an abundance of opportunities to find and photograph amphibians as we explore beautiful palm savannas, wetlands and pine forests. We hope you can camp out with us! Please sign up or send an email to trip leader Michael Starkey at starkey@savethefrogs.com if you are interested in joining SAVE THE FROGS! in Florida.

Destination | Meet Your Camp Out Leader | Trip itinerary | Prepare For The Camp Out | Trip Cost | Expression Of Interest Form

icon stf campout

The SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Expedition was a huge success! In September 2016, our international team of American and Ghanaian staff and volunteers traveled throughout Ghana for three weeks, conducting a variety of educational programs and habitat restoration events. Some successes from the first week of the expedition include:
 
(1) Speaking to the entire incoming class of freshmen (nearly 500 students) at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST) Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources.
 
Ghana Expedition Kumasi KNUST
 
(2) Giving presentations to the students of the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture (30 students who have skills in beekeeping and mushroom farming, both of which can serve as alternative livelihoods for those who currently eat frogs or chop the forest illegally).
 
kumasi institute tropical agriculture ghana expedition 2016
 
 
(3) Visiting three primary schools, directly reaching 940 enthusiastic students!
 
primary school presentation ghana expedition 2016
 
Ghana Expedition Kumasi primary school copy
 
(4) Speaking about amphibian conservation on KNUST's radio station (Focus FM 94.3) for 40 minutes.
 
 KNUST radio focus 94.3 ghana expedition 2016
 
(5) Being interviewed by the university's TV station (Tek TV); this footage and footage from our presentations will appear as a 20-minute segment throughout the region.
 
Tech tv interview ghana expedition 2016
 
(6) Leading four field excursions to find amphibians! During these excursions we had university students join us so they could learn about amphibian species in Ghana as well as amphibian survey techniques. We waded thigh deep through the Wewe River swamps on the KNUST campus; we filled a mini-van with students and took them to the Bobiri Reserve (home of 24 amphibian species!); we visited the KNUST Botanic Gardens, site of the SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana KNUST's Wewe River habitat restoration project; and we walked a few minutes down the road from our guest house to find frogs, scorpions, crabs and endangered Dwarf African Crocodiles. We found many amazing amphibian species, including:
 
Hyperolius concolor
Ptychadena longirostris
Ptychadena aequiplicata
Ptychadena bibroni
Afrixalus dorsalis
Phrynobatrachus latifrons
Phrynobatrachus plicatus
Leptopelis spiritusnoctis
Hoplobatrachus occipitalis
Amnirana albolabris
Amietophrynus regularis
Leptopelis spiritusnoctis
leptopelis spiritusnoctis ghana expedition 2016

Afrixalus dorsalis
afrixalus dorsalis ghana expedition 2016

Hoplobatrachus occipitalis
hoplobatrachus occipitalis ghana expedition 2016
 
ghana expedition 2016 survey
 
(7) Meeting with the SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana KNUST student chapter to establish future activities at the university and in the Kumasi region. We also met with professors and the Dean to discuss potential collaboration and exchange with universities abroad, in order to bring amphibian enthusiasts from other countries to Ghana, and even to send Ghanaians abroad so they can benefit from traveling to and learning about frog conservation in another country.
 
Ghana Expedition Kumasi school 2

(8) Holding the inaugural SAVE THE FROGS! World Summit, a free full-day educational event attended by 75 KNUST undergraduates, featuring an international panel of amphibian experts, in order to empower and inspire students to care about and protect amphibians.
 
save the frogs world summit ghana expedition 2016

(9) Meeting with officials from Ghana's Forestry Commission, managers of the forests that serve as habitat to the critically endangered Togo (Atewa) Slippery Frog and the Giant Squeaker Frog.

(10) Visiting the bushmeat market, the pesticide markets and the voodoo markets to document the extent of the legal and illegal trade in wildlife - including toads.
 
atrazine ghana expedition 2016
 
(11) We also found eight individuals of a frog species brand new to science! This species was discovered by a SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana team a few weeks before we arrived in the country.
 
We have also had an incredibly enjoyable and enlightening time and met many new friends, with whom we hope to be saving frogs for many years to come.
 
All of these activities could not have been completed without your generous support. From the SAVE THE FROGS! Expedition Team and everybody in Ghana who has benefited from this exceptionally beneficial Expedition, thank you!

Subcategories

The SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Expedition

In September 2016, SAVE THE FROGS! will lead an international team of 18 amphibian biologists and frog enthusiasts on the inaugural SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Expedition. The mission of the expedition is to protect Ghana's amphibian populations, empower the next generation of Ghanaian frog conservationists, and expand the international network of environmentalists interested in protecting West Africa's endangered amphibians and ecosystems.

Please download the 2016 SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Expedition Summary here.

"From all the information provided in the Expedition Summary, it seems to be a very life-changing experience that would be a shame to miss."
Ashley Alwine, Pensylvania

The SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Expedition is a collaborative effort organized by SAVE THE FROGS! and SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana.