Conservation of the amphibians of Madagascar
Project location: MADAGASCAR
Project start date: February 2003 - Project end date: April 2005
Project number: 2003-28
Beneficiary: Istituto Oikos Onlus
Exploring the importance of ecology and natural history traits to protect some of the most endangered frog species
Most of the 200 endemic species of Malagasy amphibians are endangered by deforestation and pet trade and for most of them we ignore the basic natural history requirements.
There was an urgent need to carry out an ecological survey on some of these species to get reliable results to address conservation. The Nando Peretti Foundation financed the Istituto Oikos for carrying out a research directed by Franco Andreone PhD, Curator of Zoological Department at Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali (MRSN) in Turin, a student from an Italian university, and with local scientists (mainly from the Parc Botanique et Zoologique de Tsimbazaza and from Antananarivo University). The study was conducted on a few selected species: Mantella cowani, M. bernhardi, Scaphiophryne gottlebei, and Dyscophus antongili. They were studied in the field during the rainy season when they are at the peak of their activity.
For each species one population was identified, measured, marked and carefully monitored for some time. All collected ecological and natural history parameters (such as activity rhythms, trophic behavior, sex ratio, territorialism) together with information gathered from published data, was used to draw a survivorship model. This is extremely useful to establish the degree of threat for each of the species, and to suggest important conservation decisions to protect these little known organisms, which are extremely important in the Malgasy ecosystems.