EDGE Community

Project information

[Project name/title]
Conservation Research for Amphibians Unique to Cameroon (C.R.A.U.C.)

[Project description/overview]
This project works towards the conservation of Cameroon's amphibians through scientific research.

Cameroon, particularly the highlands of North West Province.

Project type:
Scientific research

Relevant EDGE species:
Lake Oku Clawed Frog (Xenopus longipes)

Project members:
Thomas Doherty-Bone

Relevant species
35. Lake Oku Clawed Frog (Xenopus longipes) CR

Found only in a single lake in Cameroon, this species has a highly unusual genetic make-up.

[Relevance description]
To gather information pertinent to the conservation of Cameroon’s amphibian fauna, especially endemic species, and for this information to be translated into conservation action.
Cameroon holds as many as 200 amphibian species, of which many are endemic. The majority of these endemic species are considered to be under threat from extinction.

The CRAUC expedition of 2008 helped to address the conservation issues associated with many species of amphibian, most notably species existing on Mount Oku, and around Central and South West Provinces. This work included the survey and establishment of a monitoring programme for the Lake Oku Clawed Frog (Xenopus longipes) and preliminary survey for and the identification of sites for continuing caecilian work.

However, much work has still been left undone, particularly for the most rare or endangered species that have had no or very little research attention, such as the critically endangered toad, Wolterstorffina chirioi, and frogs of the genera Astylosternus, Leptodactylodon and Cardioglossa.
Project summary
Research on amphibian declines has lead to the discovery that amphibians are the most threatened group of any animal on Earth. One of the greatest hotspots for amphibian diversity is in West Africa, particularly Cameroon, which holds many endemic frogs and caecilians.

This project will focus on the unique amphibian assemblages in the mountainous region of North West Province, and surrounding highland provinces. Research will investigate:
- the status of the critically endangered Lake Oku Clawed Frog, and its only known habitat, Lake Oku
- the current status of caecilian assemblages in the Mount Oku area and beyond, particularly the rarer species that have not been recorded since their original discovery decades previously
- monitoring of infectious diseases known to have negative impacts to amphibians globally
- general observations of amphibian ecology.

Work will involve local conservation workers, and will be conducted with the approval of the local communities. Expected outputs include reports on the work to be distributed to local conservation workers; information on endemic species to allow prioritization for conservation; community outreach highlighting the importance of amphibians; an increased capacity for management of species of conservation concern by local conservation managers; formation of long term collaborative links between British and Cameroonian workers.
- Completion of two and a half months of intensive field work in 2008
- Survey of the Lake Oku Clawed Frog’s population and disease prevalence
- Establishment of a monthly monitoring program for Lake Oku
- Awareness of Lake Oku as an important amphibian habitat to local community
- Rescue population of Lake Oku Clawed Frogs taken back to London and Antwerp Zoos
- Surveillance of amphibian chytrid fungus
- Preliminary data on caecilians in Cameroon, with follow up planned
- Important biological specimens deposited at the Natural History Museum for further study
- Built up network with Cameroonian and Western scientist
Start date: May 2008
Duration: 4 years
Project members
Thomas Doherty-Bone : Principal Researcher

Thomas is researching, among other things, EDGE amphibian number 34, the Lake Oku clawed toad.

[Member role description]
Other key species
- Mount Oku Caecilian, Crotaphatrema lamottei;
- Other Caecilians;
- Central night frog Astylosternus ranoides (EDGE amphibian # 265);
- Cameroon range night frog Astylosternus rheophilus (EDGE amphibian # 578);
- Mount Okou long-fingered frog Cardioglossa oreas (EDGE amphibian # 278);
- Black long-fingered frog Cardioglossa pulchra (EDGE amphibian #278);
- Wolterstorffina chirioi (EDGE amphibian # 189);
- Steindachner's river frog Phrynobatrachus steinadachneri (EDGE amphibian # 730);
- Other anurans.
Project partners
Natural History Museum, London
Zoological Society of London
Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
Oku Fon’s Palace
Cameroon Biodiversity Conservation Society
Cameroon Herpetological Project (CAMHERP)
Amphibian Ark
Field work for 2008:
Erasmus Darwin Barlow Expedition Grant, Zoological Society of London - £3000
Royal Zoological Society of Scotland - £3000
Small Ecological Project Grant, British Ecological Society - £2500

Field work for 2009:
Percy Sladen Memorial Fund, Linnean Society - £640
Seeking further funding for 2009
[Title:] Lake Oku Clawed Frog
[Image caption]
Xenopus longipes
[Title:] Location
[Image caption]
Lake Oku, Cameroon
Associated Blog Posts
14th Jan 09
Here is an update from Thomas Doherty-Bone, who is working in Cameroon on EDGE Amphibian number 34, the Lake Oku clawed frog. Arrival in Cameroon After...  Read

17th Dec 08
Here is the second blog from Thomas Doherty-Bone, who is carrying out research on little know amphibians in Cameroon, including a number of EDGE and highly E...  Read

12th Nov 08
This is the first blog from Thomas Doherty-Bone, who is carryng out conservation research on amphibians unique to Cameroon. Thomas is being supported by a gr...  Read

[Title:] Mount Oku Caecilian
[Image caption]
Crotaphatrema lamottei
[Title:] Principal Researcher
[Image caption]
Thomas Doherty-Bone