Albertine Rift

African Herpetologists Training

Amphibians are facing an unprecedented crisis at the moment around the World. Over one third of known species are classified as threatened with extinction by IUCN. This is partly due to habitat loss but also due to pollution of rivers and streams and also due to new diseases that have emerged. 

At the same time we do not know many of the species that occur in the World with new species being discovered at an increasing rate with new genetic techniques. In Central Africa it is clear that there are many newspecies to be discovered but at the same time there are very few herpetologists from Africa who are studying amphibians. The African Amphibian Working Group held its 16th meeting in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park  in 2014 to share experiences between herpetologists working in Africa but at the same time to train up a new cohort of African scientists who will work on this group of threatened animals.

A training program was held before the meeting and attended by 18 African scientists from Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda and included an overview of what is known about amphibians on this continent and training in how to study and collect specimens correctly, to preserve tissue for DNA analysis and how to study the emerging disease caused by Chytrid fungus which is responsible for the decline and extinction of many amphibian species. A short video about that training can be accessed here: