Mount Manengouba harbors over 50% of the anuran (frog) fauna endemic to the Cameroon Highlands, ranking among the highest in Africa for both species diversity and endemism. These montane uplands are one of the most important centers of endemism on the African continent and are considered a priority area for conservation globally. Despite the area’s high degree of diversity and endemism, its future is uncertain, as it has no protection status. Although the Cameroonian Government has shown interest in creating a protected area (Integral Ecological Reserve), it lacks the resources and capacity to follow through. This project aims to protect 5,252 ha of critical habitat, a hotspot for amphibians on the African continent. Increased collaboration with the local authorities and further conservation efforts could potentially lead to the site being designated as a protected area.
A number of endemic amphibians are found only in the submontane forest of Manenguoba, including Nsoung Long-fingered Frog (Cardioglossa trifasciata) (CR), Redbelly Egg Frog (Leptodactylodon erythrogaster) (CR), and a long-fingered frog (Cardioglossa manengouba) (not evaluated). Other endangered species that are endemic to the Cameroon highlands and would benefit from conservation efforts include: Amiet’s Long-fingered Frog (Cardioglossa melanogaster) (EN), Mount Okou Long-fingered Frog (C. oreas) (EN), Black Long-fingered Frog (C. pulchra) (EN), Highland Long-fingered Frog (C. venusta) (EN), Laurent’s Night Frog (Astylosternus laurenti) (EN), Perret’s Night Frog (A. perreti) (EN), Mertens’ Egg Frog (Leptodactylodon mertensi) (EN), Ornate Egg Frog (L. ornatus) (EN), Bamboutos Smalltongue Toad (Werneria bambutensis) (EN), Mertens’ Smalltongue Toad (W. mertensiana) (EN), Tandy’s Smalltongue Toad (W. tandyi) (EN), Perret’s Water Frog (Petropedetes perreti) (EN), Nkongsamba Frog (Hylarana asperrima) (EN), and Goliath Frog (Conraua goliath) (EN).
The key partner at this site will be the Cameroonian Government through the Ministry of Forestry and the Department of Wildlife and Protected Areas (MINFOF-DFAP), in collaboration with WWF and IUCN Cameroon. Local stakeholders involved in the project will include mountain communities, NGOs involved in research activities at the site and Dr. Gonwouo Nono LeGrand of Cameroon Herpetology-Conservation Biology Foundation (CAMHERP-CBF). Other sub-groups will include Fulani herdsmen, farmers, Prunus gatherers, hunters, medicine collectors and fuel wood gatherers.
The following actions will be conducted:
• Practical conservation action around Mt. Manengouba, involving partnerships among local communities, government and NGOs.
• Identification and mapping of all forest patches and streams where endemic amphibians have been documented.
• Capacity building and training of all local stakeholders for participatory site-management community oriented approaches to conservation.
• Dissemination of key messages from projects through informational signs around endemic amphibian habitat, brochures, reports, media, and newspaper articles.
• Encouragement and facilitation of visits by stakeholders to other montane forest areas where similar projects are being implemented.
• Development of a website for the project to highlight project activities with key documents and outputs available online.
This project will result in strengthening conservation measures at the proposed site. This site is proposed as an “Integral Ecological Reserve” and will serve as one of the first amphibian protected areas in Cameroon and the central African sub region. Key outcomes of the project will include: montane forests conserved and more sustainably managed through conservation measures undertaken at priority sites around Mt. Manengouba. A montane forest site with protection status will be created including legislation, boundary demarcation and development of a management plan that involves the participation of local stakeholders with core protected area and forest zones managed by communities. NGO, government staff, and local communities will have increased capacity for planning, management, community approaches, protection, monitoring, and making a positive contribution towards the conservation of montane forest. Importantly, awareness will be raised with the general public and the international conservation community on project activities and ongoing conservation measures.
© 2012 Global Wildlife Conservation