The frogs of Madagascar constitute one of the richest groups of amphibians in the world, with more than 400 species—all but two of which exist only in Madagascar. The country is third in the world for the number of endemic amphibian species, making it one of the most vital priorities for global amphibian conservation.
However, like amphibians around the world, Madagascar’s frogs are under threat. The IUCN Red List classifies nearly 25 percent of all described Malagasy species as Globally Rare, though researchers have not yet recorded any recent extinctions. Malagasy amphibian populations are declining as the result of habitat loss and degradation, while the international pet trade may also have a profound impact on certain species. The recent discovery of an invasive toad spreading in the northeast of Madagascar is posing new challenges to amphibian conservation. Most recently, the discovery of the potentially deadly fungal disease called chytridiomycosis has worried scientists, who fear the pathogen could cause the kind of devastation it has caused in the Neotropics, Australia and the western United States.
In November of 2014, GWC associate group the Amphibian Survival Alliance provided financial support for ACSAM2 “A Conservation Strategy for the Amphibians of Madagascar,” the second meeting in the last decade to bring together local and international conservationists to address threats to Madagascar’s amphibians. The Ministère de l’Environnement, de l’Ecologie et des Forêtsde Madagascar, Amphibian Specialist Group – Madagascar, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Durrell) and Centre ValBio organized ACSAM2 (www.amphibians.org/acsam2). The event drew about 70 national and international participants.
- The development of an emergency response strategy for the amphibians of Madagascar.
- The identification of the Bd lineage(s) and characterization of its virulence.
- The establishment of a national protocol and permit to collect dead frogs from the field.
- Building captive assurance populations of priority species to weather the storm.
- The maintenance of the National Monitoring Plan for chytrid and regular population monitoring at eight core sites.
- The development of a process for the rapid export of samples and specimens, including permits and export licenses.
- The establishment of standardized hygiene protocol for every research permit issued in Madagascar.
- Enhanced mitigation research in Madagascar.
- The establishment of boot wash stations at the entrance to every National Park for tourists and researchers.
Malagasy frogs, such as the painted mantella (Mantella baroni) and the Madagascar jumping frog (Aglyptodactylus madagascariensis)
The Ministère de l’Environnement, de l’Ecologie et des Forêtsde Madagascar, Amphibian Specialist Group – Madagascar, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Durrell) and Centre ValBio