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They didn't croak after all!World's rarest toads found in area less than half the size of a football

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by nngu007, May 24, 2011.

  1. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

    May 24, 2011
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    Only in Tanzania, We are blessed we need to get rid of greedy leaders Get ride of Azimio la Zanzibar...

    By Daily Mail Reporter

    Last updated at 7:45 AM on 24th May 2011

    The world's rarest toad has been found by scientists living in an area of just 300 square metres in the wild.

    Living in a section of a forest reserve less than half the size of a football pitch in Tanzania, East Africa, the discovery that the population of Wendy's forest toad is still in existence has delighted zoologists who thought the species was dying out.

    The toads are thought to be hyper-endemic - found in one very small area and nowhere else in the world.


    Under threat: The toad's home is a biodiversity hotspot threatened by deforestation and climate change

    Scientists from a project run by the the Whiteley Wildlife Conservation Trust - based at Paignton Zoo, Devon - and the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group have been carrying out a rapid ecological assessment of key sites along the Uzungwa Scarp forest reserve - a biodiversity hotspot threatened by deforestation and climate change.

    Hamidu Seki, the project's team leader, found several critically endangered Wendy's forest toads while walking throughout the area. The species is thought to live in a range no bigger than 300 square metres in the Uzungwa mountains.
    Mike Bungard, Paignton Zoo's curator of lower vertebrates and invertebrates, said: 'This is not a newly-discovered population but it is fantastic to find evidence that they are still here.


    Hard to get: The Wendy's forest toad lives in an area of just 300 square metres in Tanzania

    'This project is already paying off. These species are thought to be hyper-endemic, which means they are found in one very small area and nowhere else in the world.

    'Sadly, there is no sign of the Poynton's forest toad in the area where it was seen ten years ago, though we are still searching.

    'Small populations in small areas are so vulnerable to disease or disaster.'
    Mike and Andy Bowkett, overseas conservation officer for the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, spent a month working in Tanzania before Christmas.


    Scene of the discovery: The toads were found in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park

    Andy, who returns to Tanzania in June, said: 'There are species recorded in one spot in the world. 'That may be because no-one has bothered to look again, or they have become extinct.

    'It is very strange for multiple species - our three target species - to be observed many times over the years in the same spot but never anywhere else.
    'Having said that, we still need to find out for sure whether they are hyper-endemic, or whether they are found elsewhere.'

    The target species are Nectophrynoides wendyae - Wendy's forest toad - and Nectophrynoides poyntoni - Poynton's forest toad (both listed as Critically Endangered) and Hyperolius kihangensis, the Kihanga reed frog, which is classed as Endangered.

    Mike Bungard added: 'This project is already providing new information on which we can base our long-term conservation efforts.'