Albertine Rift

Amphibian Conservation

WCS has been partnering with the Michele Menegon at the Science Museum at Trento, Italy, Mathias Behangana at the Makerere University in Uganda, Eli Greenbaum at the University of Texas, El Paso and Simon Loader at the University of Basel in Switzerland to survey the amphibians of the Albertine Rift. We have focused support to amphibian surveys in several sites in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo, notably Misotshi-Kabogo, Itombwe, Kahuzi Biega NP, Nyungwe NP, Bwindi Impenetrable NP, Virunga NP and Kabwoya WR. These surveys have identified at least 10 new species for the World with more likely to be discovered in current surveys. These 10 species when described will increase the number of endemic species for the Albertine Rift by 25%.

Conserving the existing amphibians and these new species will be a challenge. Amphibians attract far less attention than large mammals and birds and consequently fundraising for their conservation is difficult. IUCN has given WCS a two year grant to work on the conservation of amphibians in the Itombwe and Misotschi-Kabogo massifs and to support the creation of two new protected areas at each of these sites. The aim is to ensure that the boundaries of these protected areas do conserve the 17 species of amphibians that are only found in these two sites in the World (with possibly more species to add as we analyse the surveys). Tracie Seimon at WCS's NY Health Centre is working on analysing the extent of infection by the Chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in all specimens we collect to determine the importance of this disease and its impact on amphibians in the Albertine Rift. This fungus has been responsible for the decline of many amphibian populations around the World, although it originates from Africa and so may not be as dangerous to amphibians on this continent as a result of adaptation.

Conservation Challenges

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Contact

Albertine Rift Program
Plot 802 Kiwafu Rd, Kansanga, PO Box 7487, Kampala, Uganda
+256772509754

Key Staff

Partners Include

Museo Tridentino Di Scienze Naturali
International Union for Conservation of Nature