Conservation of the Critically Endangered toad skinned frog in India
Pathinettam Arun Kumar Kanagavel
The toad skinned Frog, Indirana phrynoderma is an evolutionarily distinct and Critically Endangered amphibian, endemic to the Anamalai Hills of the southern Western Ghats in India. It is range-restricted to a single location (< 100 sq. km) at elevations of 1350-1650m in montane evergreen forests. Within this envelope the species faces numerous threats including habitat degradation and fragmentation as a result of firewood collection and pesticide spill over from the surrounding plantations. Therefore, to secure the future of toad skinned frog populations, this project aims to improve species habitat by mitigating threats through stakeholder-supported on-ground conservation action. The habitat will be improved by restoring degraded areas and reducing spill over of pesticides from the surrounding Rainforest Alliance certified tea plantations. The pressure on the habitat and substrate of the species as a result of the removal of firewood by local communities will be reduced through the installation of high efficiency stoves at local households. An annual amphibian monitoring program will also be initiated with the Forest Department to build capacity and interest in amphibian conservation. These integrated approaches will help develop stewardship and raise the profile of threatened and lesser-known amphibians in the Western Ghats region.