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Helena's stump-toad frog (Rhombophryne helenae)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 172516328

Developing a conservation programme for the threatened amphibians of Ambohitantely Special Reserve, Madagascar

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 172516328) - Helena's stump-toad frog - Awarded $3,800 on December 15, 2017

Although assessed as Critically Endangered  little is known about both these species and like most species in Madagscar nothing known about their population size. Having an indication of popualtion size is an important measure in being abl assess the impact of threats on species as well as the effectiveness of any conservation measures.

Ambohitantely Special Reserve although a Protected Area still suffers from habitat loss and fragmentation with many forest fragments existing. This poject will underake a rapid assessment of current distribution and relative abundance of Anilany helenae and Anodonthyla vallani across the core forest area and surrounding fragements.

This will aim to provide information on both species abundance and densities and identifying key factors such as habitat associations and behaviour to inform teh development of future monitroing programme.

Progress to date

A scoping trip was undertaken in February 2018 by the team to see the area first-hand, identify logistically feasible survey sites and trial the proposed methods.

Following, this scoping trip Field Scientist Jary Razafindraibe and Field Assistant Rojo Ravelojaona returned in April to undertake a 3 week intensive survey. They established six transects and 84 points acoss the large southern fragment and core forest zone, which were surveyed 3 times each across the survey period. Both A. helenae and A. vallani were recorded whcih was great news. Howver, due to the timing of the survey - on the cusp of the wet/dry season - general numbers of frogs decreased over the survey time period.

To get more data to generate more robust popusltion and density estimates a second wet season survey is now underway, being led once again by Jary and will be completed 29 December.

The survey team in Ambohitantely have been greatly helped and supported by the local Madagscar National Park's staff especially Tovo, Tsao and Menja. Thanks go to Madagascar National Parks, Ministy for Environment, Ecology and Forests and University of Antananarivo for granting and assisting in research permits; the Durrell Madagascar team for logisitcal support.

Project document