Baseline study for the harvest of endemic frogs in the Bakossi National Park and Mount Kupe forest in Cameroon

Project Focus: Biodiversity conservation

Estimated cost: 75.000 Euros

 

Introduction:

The Bakossi National Park and Kupe region known simply as Kupe-Bakossi forest region is endemic to several animal and plant species. Kupe-Bakossi is geographically a highly diverse region, with two extinct volcanoes – Muanenguba and Edib – river valleys, grassland and some of the wettest forests in Africa. This diversity is one of the reasons the area is renowned for its rich biodiversity endowment. Distinctive features include ‘inselbergs’ – uplifted areas of rock rising above the ground like islands in the forest. In a recent assessment, more than 200 of the region’s plants are considered at risk of extinction, according to the Red List of threatened species maintained by IUCN, the World Conservation Union.  Human activities on the regions’ fringes could constrain the future of frogs that share this ecology with plants. There is creeping urbanization to the east and south of the area, while huge banana and rubber plantation  investment projects, if realized, could lead to erosion problems and possibly pollution, with chemical farm inputs being picked up by the wind and rained over this pristine environment.

Rationale:

Frogs have long been a major delicacy for the forest dueling people of Kupe-Bakossi region, but no documentary evidence exists of the consumption pattern. Frogs are a very rich source of protein and they make a good supplement to the local diet which is composed mainly of starchy foods. A study of the seasonal pattern of consumption and trade in frogs will set the basis for sustainable production and conservation of their ecosystem.

Problem statement:

The harvesting of endemic edible frogs from the Kupe-Bakossi forests for domestic  and international food trade is poorly understood, although there is evidence for a high demand. About 25% of Kupe-Bakossi amphibians were considered threatened with extinction, with deforestation as the main cause.

The endemic amphibian species are known to be regularly collected for the domestic food market and all require forest vegetation and riparian microhabitats to survive. Although these species have a wide distribution they are certainly declining as the native forest recedes in the face of expanding agriculture.

The extent to which the collection of edible frogs is exacerbating declines associated with forest fragmentation and degradation is unknown, but there is some concern that local harvests may be unsustainable. There is very little known about the ecology of Kupe-bakossi large edible amphibian species.

Similarly, there are few data on the geographical extent of the commercial collection or the impact it has on edible amphibian populations and peoples’ livelihoods. Indeed, this reflects a global pattern whereby more data are available on the international trade in amphibians (for food and pets) than for domestic food markets. The income to some rural people in the Kupe-Bakossi region from amphibian collection could be important, but there are no data available on the magnitude of the harvest. In this study we will report on five months monitoring of the trade in edible frogs in two towns each in the Kupe and Bakossi regions respectively, which will be undertaken as a pilot study to develop a longer-term project to track the exploitation of edible frogs.

Objectives:

-          Identify edible species

-          Identify harvesting sites and periods

-          Identify market channels

-          Establish a pilot frog production project that will serve as a basis for replication in the region.

-          Establish monitoring system for sustainable harvesting

 

 

Akume