Threatened Amphibian Programme
The Threatened Amphibian Programme (TAP) was initiated in 2012 and aims to:
1. Elevate the conservation importance of frogs and their freshwater and associated terrestrial habitats within southern Africa.
2. Implement conservation actions that align with global amphibian conservation goals.
3. Bridge the gap between research and on-the-ground conservation action by supporting and implementing relevant research projects.
4. Drive social change to promote behaviours that support sustainable natural resource use to the benefit of amphibians and their habitats.
At a global scale, our work contributes directly to putting into action the objectives outlined in the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan (ACAP, 2007), which is a high-level, cross-disciplinary strategy to address amphibian conservation needs. The ACAP is the most ambitious program ever developed to combat the extinction of species and offers practical, large-scale, creative, innovative and realistic actions that will be required to halt the present tide of extinctions of amphibian species.
Accelerated loss of biodiversity in the 20th and 21st centuries has brought extinction from evolutionary time within the dimensions of ecological time, providing an opportunity to study the causes of extinction in recent, not ancient, populations. This is especially true in the case of amphibians where, since the 1980s, research has shown that modern amphibian declines and extinctions exceed that of any animal class over the last few millennia. Currently, almost half of all known amphibian species worldwide are experiencing population declines. This trend is mirrored in South Africa. Furthermore, only about 0.01% of the world’s total freshwater is readily available to terrestrial life. If amphibians are to survive, it is critical, not only that aquatic ecosystems are protected, but also that associated terrestrial habitat is secured. The degradation of either ecosystem type disrupts amphibian life cycles and affected populations become vulnerable.
The Endangered Wildlife Trust, through its Threatened Amphibian Programme, is the only NGO operating in South Africa to include frogs as a conservation focus. Using threatened frog species as flagships for the conservation of important freshwater and terrestrial habitats, we implement species and habitat monitoring, initiate habitat protection strategies at important amphibian areas, improve management of important amphibian habitat, use research to support conservation action, and promote social change to galvanise behavioural change towards frogs and recognition of the importance of their habitats in South Africa…and beyond!
We achieve this through the following projects:
• Amathole Toad Conservation Project
• Pickersgill’s Reed Frog Recovery Project
• Table Mountain Ghost Frog Project
• Albany Adder Project
Target habitats and species:
• Coastal Wetlands
• Pickersgill’s Reed Frog
• Montane Grasslands
• Amathole Toad
• Freshwater Streams
• Kloof Frog
• Table Mountain Ghost Frog
• Koega Bonteveld
• Albany Adder
For more information, contact Dr Jeanne Tarrant
Leap Day for Frogs is marked annually in February to raise awareness of the plight of these special amphibians. Frogs are often met with negative reactions and mixed attitudes, and Leap Day for Frogs aims to help to dispel some of these unpleasant connotations and educate people about the importance of frogs to our environment. There are 125 frog species in South Africa, of which a third are threatened by habitat destruction, increasing levels of pollution in freshwater systems, disease and climate change.