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EDGE Fellows visit London

By on January 21, 2011 in Amphibians, EDGE Fellows, EDGE Updates, Ghost frogs, Mammals, Slender loris, Uncategorized

Last week two EDGE Fellows, Werner Conradie and Saman Gamage visited London to speak at the Zoological Society of London’s Communicating Science event: “Life on the EDGE: Putting forgotten species on the map” which turned out to be the highlight of the week for both Fellows.

Werner Conradie is researching the Ghost frog population in South Africa. Ghost frogs are extremely good at hiding in small cracks and under rocks and although Werner has heard many males calling he has only seen four adults. The ability to ‘disappear into thin air’ like a ghost is Werner’s best explanation for how Ghost frogs got their name. The real origin of the name is believed to come from Skeleton Gorge on Table Mountain, where the Table Mountain Ghost Frog occurs. This was the burial grounds for local people in the past.

Saman leads field research into the species occupancy, range distribution, taxonomic variation, habitat use and preference of loris species in Sri Lanka with two major success of the project being the rediscovery of the Horton Plains slender loris with which there has been just four known encounters in the past 72 years and the draft conservation strategic plan for slender loris conservation in Sri Lanka.

To prepare for their presentations at the Communicating Science event Werner and Saman were given lots of advice from the EDGE team on presentation skills which were clearly taken on board as the talks were well received by the audience, and not just because of the ‘cute’ Slender Loris pictures that Saman used in his presentation!

Along with a presentation given by Catherine Head, the EDGE Coral Reefs project co-ordinator, on the new Coral Reefs programme, both Werner and Saman spoke about their projects and answered (sometimes challenging!) questions from the audience.

While in London, Werner and Saman were based at London Zoo where along with tours around the zoo’s collection, each Fellow was introduced to other experts in their fields with whom they could talk about their projects and gain advice on how to further them. In addition to meeting researchers and conservationists at the zoo, Werner also visited the Natural History Museum to meet other frog researchers whilst Saman visited the Royal College of Surgeons to examine Slender Loris skulls.

The week was not all about work however! During their stay Werner and Saman visited the Natural History and British Museum and enjoyed a walk around Camden Markets. They even found time to have a few social drinks in the local pub! The EDGE team enjoyed the visit from the EDGE Fellows and we hope that Werner and Saman also enjoyed their stay and gained some useful advice during their busy week in London!