- Written by Francis Asamoah Boafo and Elvis Antwi-Baffour
- Parent Category: Ghana
- Category: Amphibians of Ghana
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(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.
(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.
Frogs in the genus Arthroleptis are often referred to as "squeakers." This is because of the distinctive insect-like call they make and are also called cricket or screeching frogs. They are usually small, most about the size of a baby’s thumb, with the smallest squeaker measuring merely 15mm in length. The Giant Squeaker Frog (Arthroleptis krokosua) measures up to 50mm, making it the largest squeaker in the whole of West Africa. As it is about three times the size of the smallest squeaker it must be nothing less than a “GIANT.” The Giant Squeaker Frog mainly differs from other squeakers in its much broader head. Their color can vary but most of them are golden brown, making the Giant Squeaker Frog possibly the world’s most beautiful squeaker. Unlike other squeakers they also have a distinctive “hour-glass pattern” on their back and rounded black spots on their belly. But as far as their reproduction is concerned, they are presumed to be like all other squeakers: they are among the few frogs in the world that are direct developers, meaning they bypass the tadpole stage! They lay their eggs on leaf-litter, which then hatch directly into baby frogs called froglets that resemble their parents in every way except for their tiny size. But mind you, a baby Giant Squeaker Frog may be about the same size or even bigger than the adults of some other squeakers. Again, it is the simple reason the Giant Squeaker Frog is “GIANT’.
To win wonderful souvenirs from SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana answer questions about this article by following the link.
SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana’s Associate Executive Director and West Africa’s first female amphibian conservation scientist, Miss Sandra Owusu-Gyamfi will travel to the United Kingdom from 20th December 2016 to 10th January 2017. During her stay, Sandra will give educational presentations about amphibians, empower women in conservation and the activities of SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana. Spend the season with Sandra to learn some of SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana’s great achievements such as winning awards including the prestigious Green Oscar from the Whitley Fund for Nature; new frog discoveries; establishing West Africa’s first amphibian education centre; replanting 20-ha of critical amphibian habitats with +15,000 native trees; providing beekeeping as alternative livelihood for local people; gaining international media attention and many more. Sandra will also be visiting funders including the Rufford Foundation and the Whitley Fund for Nature to update them on how their funded projects are progressing.
You can take this opportunity to invite Sandra over to your local school or group for a presentation or discussion on possible collaborations and volunteering with West Africa’s leading amphibian research and conservation organisation. Please send an email of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org for an advance booking.
In 2014 Sandra travelled to the UK and presented to about 500 individuals at institutions and groups such as the University of Cambridge, Nottingham and Greenwich, the British Herpetology Society and the Harrison Institute (www.savethefrogs2.com/easyblog/save-the-frogs-ghana-programmes-co-ordinator-s-visit-to-uk-makes-huge-waves). Sandra uses such visits to inspire and give hope to scientists and conservationists which she believes is key in addressing many conservation challenges.
Watch this documentary about SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Executive Director Gilbert Adum's passion for frogs and about our work to save the last Giant Squeaker Frogs (Arthroleptis krokosua) and improve the lives of the Yawkrom community in the Sui River Forest Reserve..be
During the SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Expedition, a German film crew from Deutsche Wela (DW-TV) traveled with our team to Yawkrom and the Sui forest in order to document the incredible work of Gilbert and SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana. This documentary will be broadcast around the world.
14.10.2016 | 21:30 on DW (12:30 PST, 19:30 GMT)
15.10.2016 | 05:30 on DW (20:30 PST, 3:30 GMT)
Or watch the entire episode here.
SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana has become a symbol of hope and inspiration for West African amphibian conservation efforts. We are confident that this documentary will further educate and empower the thousands who watch it in order to protect amphibians in their own communities.
SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger first traveled to Ghana in September 2011. On that trip he co-founded SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana with amphibian biologist Gilbert Adum. In 2016, Dr. Kriger returned to Ghana to lead the SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Expedition, a 23-day journey to train volunteers and spread amphibian awareness throughout the country. This is his story of how he became an African chief.
On September 22nd, 2016, SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger took a pledge to help the environment and development of the Yawkrom community, and was inducted as chief of environment and development.
On the 5th birthday of SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana (September 22nd, 2016), I became a chief in the village of Yawkrom, Western Region, Ghana. A seven hour ceremony took place featuring live drumming, dancing, singing, a brass band, all the village chiefs, members of parliament and numerous presentations on frogs, the environment, empowering students and otherwise improving the community. About 500 people were present - virtually the entire village. SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Co-Founder Gilbert Adum and I pledged to the chiefs to help the community's development and environment and we were inducted as chiefs. The paramount chief cut the ribbon on SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana's brand new Sui Amphibian Conservation Education Center and I pledged a $1,000 donation to the center on behalf of SAVE THE FROGS!. At the end of the ceremonies, Gilbert and I marched away with our fellow chiefs, followed by a brass band, to a house in the village where we shared a bottle of shnapps. Afterwards I gave an interview to the German documentary crew that had been filming our efforts for the past several days. I went to sleep that night to the sound of frogs calling from a plantain field nearby.
The chiefs of Yawkrom, Ghana sit in front of the brand new Sui Amphibian Conservation Education Centre at the base of the Sui River Forest Reserve.
Yawkrom sits at the base of the Sui River Forest Reserve, which is home to the Giant Squeaker Frog (Arthroleptis krokosua), one of the world's most endangered amphibians. The rainforests surrounding Yawkrom are a true amphibian biodiversity hotspot, with at least thirty known amphibian species. Unfortunately the Sui rainforests are increasingly under threat from legal and illegal mining, farming, timber collection, hunting and fires. As such, protecting the Sui rainforests and saving the frogs of the Yawkrom region is one of the most significant amphibian conservation challenges in the world - and one of our greatest opportunities to make a significant positive impact.
Gilbert Adum (in green) and I sit in a line of 18 chiefs shortly after our installment as chiefs of environment and development.
Before I relate the full story of how Gilbert and I became chiefs, I feel it is necessary to convey the fact that our induction to the chieftancy (which we had not solicited) came about only after five years of sustained efforts on the parts of myself and Gilbert to save Ghana's frogs and to gain the support of Ghana's people in our frog saving efforts - all facilitated by the generous support of the SAVE THE FROGS! worldwide community of staff, volunteers and supporters.
The students of Yawkrom were granted the day off of school so they could attend the celebrations. The building in the background is SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana's brand new Sui Amphibian Conservation Education Centre.
I must also state the implications of our new chieftancy: the two most important being that Gilbert and I have:
(1) greatly expanded our sphere of influence within the Yawkrom community and thus the Sui River Forest Reserve; and
(2) we have taken on the responsibility to improve not just the health of the rainforest, but also that of the Yawkrom community, which lacks running water, proper sanitation and other basics of life most westerners take for granted. To achieve our goals of improving the environment and the community of Yawkrom, Gilbert and I appreciate your continued support far into the future. Without further ado, enjoy the story!
All the details of how Gilbert Adum and I became chiefs
A few hours into the day's celebrations (which included traditional drumming, dancing, singing and a multitude of presentations on the environment), Gilbert and I were asked to walk over to the Chiefs, who were seated on the opposite side of the event grounds from us. We all shook hands, then walked in a line with the Chiefs into a private room of the new education center. The chiefs pulled out traditional robes (kente) and sandals for me and Gilbert. We removed our shirts and shoes and the Chiefs helped me get my robe on correctly. It took three Chiefs a couple minutes to figure it out, so I hope there's a YouTube guide to donning a chief robe lest I need to do it myself sometime! The left hand always holds the robe to keep it in place and one shoulder is always left uncovered. After we were properly dressed one of the Chiefs instructed us on the pledge we would soon make: “I pledge to the Nananum (board of Chiefs) to help with the environment and development of the community”. He also showed me how to hold the golden handled sword while reciting the pledge (the sword was of lightweight materials and not a real fighting sword).
We walked out to the center of the field where the celebrations were taking place. My new name was announced:
(Nana Kojo Agyeman Bosompem Nkosuohene The First).
Nana = Elder
Kojo = Born on Monday
Agyeman = He who fought for the town
Bosompem = Great deity, or thousand gods
Nkosuo = Development
Hene = Chief
Then we turned and walked to within a few meters in front of where the paramount chief (the omanhene) sat. Gilbert went first and gave his pledge.
SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Co-Founder Gilbert Adum pledges to protect the environment of Yawkrom, and was given the title Nana Kwabena Bosompem Sompahene The First. Sompa means great, selfless, dedicated service.
Then the chief next to me told me it was time for me to step up. I stepped up to the edge of a ditch a few meters in front of the paramount chief (Nana Akwasi Agyemang Bosompem II). The paramount chief recited some statements that I repeated and I made my pledge into the microphone. This took maybe ninety seconds and included statements such as if the Chiefs ever call on me I will come rain or shine (unless I am unhealthy and thus unable to come).
I was instructed to step up to the paramount chief. I crossed the ditch and walked up the middle of the two rows of kids known as “souls”. The souls were dressed in all white and black garb of artistic design and with matching headwear. They looked less than ten years old. Souls are chosen at birth to that position and are always virgins. Eventually when they get too old they are replaced by incoming souls (younger children). There were perhaps eight of them, in two columns of four. I walked up the middle of the souls and stopped in front of the paramount chief. We had a long handshake. I can't remember what he said. Then I walked to my left, shaking hands and saying thank you to every one of the sixteen Chiefs, all who were seated.
Shaking hands with my fellow chiefs
Then Gilbert and I took seats at the end of the row. A physically fit kid of maybe 16 years old held an umbrella for Gilbert and I for the duration of the day. The sun was hot but we were generally in the shade of a big tree. I didn't have my camera on me but would have loved it as I was in a line of Chiefs. Some had golden staffs (not likely real gold), each with a different animal at the top.
We sat for a an hour as the rest of the presentations continued. A woman took the mic to solicit donations for the brand new Sui Amphibian Conservation Education Center, which was just a few meters behind us. I walked out and pledged $1,000 on behalf of SAVE THE FROGS!. A very generous donor had specifically contributed this a few hours earlier in response to the fundraising appeal I had sent out that morning.
In my first speech as an African chief, I pledged $1,000 on behalf of SAVE THE FROGS! to assist with the Sui Amphibian Conservation Education Centre.
At the end of the presentations, we all walked over to the new education center. The paramount chief cut the rope and ushered in a whole new area of amphibian conservation. We went in with the film crew, lots of kids, the Chiefs, Alex the candidate for Member of Parliament and others. There were five computers with SAVE THE FROGS! stickers on them - the village's first computers (all recently purchased by SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana) - and a library of kids' environmental books that STF! Ghana’s Sandra Owusu-Gyamfi had acquired in Accra. I talked to Alex the candidate for Parliament and then walked outside and took photos with the kids. Then Gilbert and I and the chiefs re-gathered. I took a seat immediately beside the paramount chief and a round of photos was had.
Traditional singers and drummers performed throughout the day
Gilbert Adum and I with the paramount chief of Yawkrom (Nana Akwasi Agyemang Bosompem II).
After the photo session Gilbert and I marched with the Chiefs to “the palace”, followed by the brass band and shaded by the kid who carried our umbrella. The palace was a house that looked like any other in the village, but without trash in the yard, and fairly well-ordered inside. The Nananum (the Chiefs) all sat in a semi-circle in the front yard, me beside the paramount chief. We all had a shot of schnapps. The tradition is to pour a small amount on the ground prior to drinking.
The next generation of frog savers in Yawkrom
I talked for a while with the paramount chief, who explained the meaning of my new name and told me he'd be happy to come to America as an ambassador if I hold an event. He told me that he had been online to read through the SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana website, which made me happy. He mentioned that he had seen the photo of Sandra Owusu-Gyamfi with several of the Yawkrom chiefs (one of my all-time favorite SAVE THE FROGS! photos, see below). The chief in the red hat in that photo was currently sitting next to us; the paramount chief told me it was that chief who had suggested that I be inducted as a chief. I turned to him and thanked him for his support.
The paramount chief told me he had seen this 2014 photo on our site, and that it was the chief in the red hat who suggested I be installed as a chief.
I asked the paramount chief if he was born in the village. He told me that he was from Kumasi (the second largest city in Ghana) and lived near the SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana offices. He had been chief for just seven months. I was later told that there had been some controversy about him becoming paramount chief as he was an outsider to the village. His grandfather was a famous chief and by virtue of him being a nephew of the former chief, he inherited the omanhene (paramount chieftancy) when his uncle died - chieftancy is matrilineal, going to the son of the sister of the deceased chief. Virtually all chiefs inherited their positions. Generally the only non-hereditary chiefs are development chiefs (such as Gilbert and myself) who have contributed significantly to the community or have the potential and the expectation to contribute significantly in the future. Youth can also be made chiefs if they are deemed exceptional. Regardless of his background, I was happy the paramount chief had visited our website and seemed accepting of our conservation efforts.
Traditional Ghanaian dancers during the SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana 5th birthday celebrations.
Eventually the paramount chief said I could go change out of my robe if I wanted to. I walked in “the palace” and in the back was my shirt, but unfortunately my sandals were missing. I was told I could keep my robe and my new Chief sandals (which were quite uncomfortable). The head of household walked me over to the education center to find my own sandals, which fortunately were still in the room I had walked into just before becoming a chief.
I walked out and the German film crew from Deutsche Wela (DW-TV) was interviewing Gilbert. They asked me for an interview, slightly disappointed I was no longer in my chief attire. After the interview I walked them over to the palace so they could interview the paramount chief. I stayed to hear what he had to say.
With kids in front of the brand new Sui Amphibian Conservation Education Centre
At the end of the interview I walked with Gilbert to our village host's house as the rest of our team was there and dinner awaited us. We had dinner with our host family with a view of the Sui hills and rainforest in the distance. Eventually we got into our taxis and drove the dirt road 75 minutes back to the Cocoa Board Lodge in Siefsi Wiawso, where I reminisced about the events of the day and drifted off to sleep to the sounds of frogs calling.
Stay tuned for a lot more photos from the day's celebrations, as well as an article about my goals as chief of environment and development in Yawkrom, Western Region, Ghana.
You can help out today by donating to our efforts in Ghana. We rely on your support to make amazing things happen for frogs, rainforests and humans. Thank you for helping us SAVE THE FROGS!
In September 2016, SAVE THE FROGS! led an international team of amphibian biologists on the inaugural SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Expedition. The mission of the expedition was 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.
For 23 days our expedition team traveled throughout Ghana:
(1) Conducting educational programs;
(2) Searching for endangered rainforest frogs;
(3) Restoring habitat for endangered amphibians;
(4) Exchanging knowledge with Ghanaian biologists; and
(5) Working to improve and accelerate amphibian conservation efforts in Ghana.
Join an online presentation all about the SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Expedition on October 14th, 2016:
On Friday, October 14th, at 10am San Francisco Time, SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Co-Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger will hold an online video conference all about the SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Expedition. In this presentation, Dr. Kriger will discuss the expedition’s successes and show many amazing photos from the SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Expedition. All are welcomed to join in on this interesting and informative discussion about our amphibian conservation efforts in West Africa.
Join online from PC or Mac:
Dial: +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll) or +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll)
Meeting ID: 580 658 577
International numbers available:
SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana has secured a building and work is underway for the construction of West Africa’s first amphibian conservation education centre. It is strategically located in the home region of Ghana's flagship Giant Squeaker Frog, thus, dubbed the "Sui Amphibian Conservation Education Centre (SACEC)".
The critically endangered Giant Squeaker Frog (Arthroleptis krokosua).
Funded by Whitley Fund for Nature, it's a three room building with an infusion of both modern and traditional architecture, comprising a library and a computer/technology centre. With the support of over 50 daily local volunteers including women groups, the building will be completed and commissioned on the 5th birthday of SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana, 22nd September 2016.
The commissioning of SACEC will be broadcast by Germany’s biggest media house, DW-TV at a grand durbar of dignitaries including SAVE THE FROGS! founder, Dr. Kerry Kriger and other staff, politicians, educationists, conservationists, traditional leaders, and local people. All frog and nature lovers are also invited to be part of this historic event. Together, we can save the frogs, and save the world!
The SACEC before restoration. There was a lot of work to be done!
Back view of the building.
Demolished parts of the front view of the building.
Front view of building under reconstruction.
Progress made on front view of building.
With the roof nearly collapsed, ceiling panels needed to be added.
This reconstruction of this building was done entirely by volunteers.
With your support, the Sui Amphibian Conservation Education Centre will be a model for amphibian conservation efforts throughout all of West Africa! Please donate to ensure the future success of the SACEC!
With less than a week before the SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Expedition, our team around the world has been busy preparing for our rigorous frog-saving campaigns in West Africa. To our dismay, we received terrible news last night from our friends in Ghana.
While suffering from malaria, SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Executive Director Gilbert Adum reported to us that a fire has devastated much of the Sui forest, which is the last known location of the critically endangered Giant Squeaker Frog, Arthroleptis krokosua.
SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana has recently won the prestigious Whitley Fund for Nature Award, helping to fund their West African conservation projects to save the Giant Squeaker Frog, one of the world's most endangered frogs. An important part of this funding supports the invaluable help of two interns.
SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana is pleased to announce the following emerging amphibian biologists as SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana 2016 interns: Prince Adu-Tutu and Isaac Nyame. These interns will receive three months intensive training under the supervision of West Africa’s finest amphibian conservation scientists, Gilbert Adum and Sandra Owusu-Gyamfi. Prince and Isaac will also have unlimited access to resources that will build their capacities in amphibian research, conservation, fundraising and public speaking.
Prince is a final year Wildlife and Range Management student at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). He is also the President of SAVE THE FROGS! KNUST Chapter. As a young researcher, Prince’s greatest interest is to study and contribute important information on Ghana’s data-deficient frog species. Prince hopes to use his experience in social media marketing to promote awareness about Ghana’s vanishing frogs and SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana’s conservation efforts to protect them. He will also collect data from social media activities for his Bachelor of Science project, “The Impacts of the Internet and Social Media on Natural Resources Management in Ghana.”
Isaac is an aspiring conservationist currently in his second year studying Natural Resources Management at KNUST. He is also the projects coordinator of SAVE THE FROGS! KNUST Chapter. Isaac has volunteered on several amphibian projects including helping to plant 500-plus native tree species along KNUST’s Wewe River to protect the campus’ 12 frog species. He hopes to develop himself through this internship to become a better conservationist and promote awareness among local people using his linguistic skills in Twi, Ghana’s widely spoken local language.
SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana held a successful Save The Frogs Day Celebration in Chiana, Upper East Ghana. They estimated to reach a total live participants of 300 local people for this year's Save The Frogs Day. With the training of new volunteers by our experienced Northern Regional representative, Alex Akebeh, they reached 300 more people. Campaigns were intensified especially in schools and households, encouraging people to appreciate frogs and nature. They organized radio broadcasts which reached an estimated 1,500 people who tune in everyday to the local station, Nabina Radio.
We are pleased to announce that the Whitley Fund For Nature has awarded SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana’s Gilbert Adum with a frog conservation grant in the amount of 35,000GBP (US$51,100) to further his efforts protecting Giant Squeaker Frogs (Arthroleptis krokosua), one of the world’s most endangered frog species. Gilbert was awarded this prestigious environmental prize at The Royal Geographical Society in London in front of over 550 guests including Sir David Attenborough and the daughter of the Queen of England.
Since the founding of SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana (www.savethefrogs.com/ghana) in 2011, Gilbert Adum has catapulted Ghana into the world conservation spotlight. Gilbert was selected from 130 applicants worldwide. Sir David Attenborough said this of Gilbert and the other internationally-acclaimed award winners as they received their Whitley Award: "Empowering local people, who understand what the problems are, and who have the local knowledge, determination and vested interest to find the solutions is the very best way to ensure long term protection for the natural world."
You can watch Gilbert Adum's enthusiastic speech as he receives his award:
Watch the award announcement video here, narrated by David Attenborough:
Listen to this great interview BBC World Service had with Gilbert Adum about his Whitley Fund for Nature Award:
More congratulatory messages continue to pour in from all over the world in recognition of Gilbert Adum's Whitley Fund for Nature Award, including from Germany’s Environment Minister, Barbara Hendricks: “I am absolutely delighted that one of the Humboldt Climate Protection Fellows has received this prestigious award." Gilbert spent the past 18 months in Germany working on climate change issues as they relate to West Africa’s amphibians, and managing SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana from afar:
Gilbert is the first Ghanaian to receive this prestigious award. Gilbert's success was highlighted in Modern Ghana and other African news outlets:
Congratulations to Gilbert and the SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Team!
SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana, West Africa's premier and leading non-profit amphibian organization has appointed Mr. Nicholas Aidoo as its Community Conservation Coordinator. Mr. Aidoo formerly worked as a World Bank Community-Based Rural Development Project Officer, creating economic opportunities in beekeeping for 65 communities in southwestern Ghana.
The position of Community Conservation Coordinator is new and as the first officer, Mr. Aidoo will lead in the development of alternative livelihoods for local communities previously dependent on endangered frog habitat. One frog in particular to benefit from this conservation initiative funded by the UK-based charities, Whitley Fund for Nature and The Rufford Foundation, is the Giant Squeaker Frog, one of the world’s rarest and endangered animals. Mr. Aidoo is also a native speaker and well-versed in Twi, Ghana’s most widely spoken local language. Thus, he will also take lead in the translation of relevant conservation education materials from English to Twi. This will help to make knowledge and awareness accessible to the local people who matter most in the protection of Ghana’s frogs and wildlife.
Atewa Hills Article Count: 2
Expedition Article Count: 4
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.
"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