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Turning a childhood hobby into a career

By on April 17, 2013 in EDGE Updates, EDGE Fellows, Amphibians, ZSL

EDGE Fellow Caleb Ofori Boateng is one of West Africa’s leading herpetologists and through his EDGE Fellowship he will now be championing the little know Togo slippery frog…

My childhood days were spent in the dust and the dirt of the West African savannahs. My Dad was a local wildlife warden and his job brought me into contact with wildlife on a daily basis. Growing up, my passion was to hear the (then frequent) scary roar of the lion at night; see the antelopes swarm the plains like bees; and watch the monkeys steal produce from backyard gardens.

Later on in life, I turned my childhood passion into a career and became one of West Africa’s very few herpetologists and the only one in my country. Today, as an authority on Ghana’s amphibians, I use my knowledge and influence to protect wildlife, particularly amphibians, through an organisation I founded in 2009 (Herp conservation, Ghana). The organisation conducts community awareness programmes, capacity building, and the promotion of networking among young conservationists.

My EDGE project is enabling me to continue my work strengthening protection for Ghana’s most endangered amphibian species. The target species of my project, the Togo slippery frog, is ranked 29 on EDGE amphibian list and is likely to be on the brink of extinction due to increasing hunting pressure from local people, decline in forest quality, and forest loss.

Ecological and genetic data is critical to making informed conservation interventions to save this species and my EDGE project will help us collect this information. Over the next two years, we will visit a number of historic sites where the species has previously been recorded and carry out surveys at these sites. We will also work with local communities to actively engage them in conservation interventions.

The data gathered from this project will be provided to the Ghanaian authorities, who are interested in developing conservation plans to save this EDGE species from extinction. Watch this space!

To learn more about Caleb’s work, please visit his community page.