Lungless salamander (Bolitoglossa insularis)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 11252298
FFI works by invitation around the world to save species from extinction, habitats from destruction and to encourage sustainable development. Formed in 1903 in the United Kingdom, FFI acts to conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, are based on sound science and take account of human needs. We work through partnerships that ensure local ownership and lasting results and believe success lies in devising strategies that both conserve biodiversity and contribute to human development. Our guiding principles are to: respond to local needs, respect national priorities, develop strategic partnerships and strengthen our partners’ capacity. Our program of activities in Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Eurasia is delivered principally through: building capacity to equip local people and agencies to manage their natural heritage; monitoring causes of biodiversity loss and its impact on local people, identifying and implementing solutions that benefit people and wildlife; and securing threatened areas of high biodiversity importance through land purchase and local conservation agreements. This project is located on the island of Ometepe in Nicaragua and focuses on an endemic species of salamander recently discovered on the island - Bolitoglossa insularis. Formed by two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua, linked by a low strip of wetland, Ometepe is one of the largest freshwater islands in the world. Within its 276km2 there is a dramatic range of altitude, topography and climate, creating a mosaic of habitats representing the majority of the country’s ecosystems. Ometepe’s island endemic lungless salamander Bolitoglossa insularis was first described to science by Sunyer et al. in 2008, sparking excitement on the island and among herpetologists across Nicaragua. Results indicate that the species is rare and may be confined to a small area (c. 1,100 ha) of intact cloud forest on the slopes of Maderas Volcano between 800 and ~1,300 meters above sea level. These findings have generated concern among Nicaragua’s scientific community as they characterise a species at high risk of extinction. FFI began collaborating on Ometepe in 2005. We have successfully strengthened local management capacity and made significant impacts on the conservation of biodiversity and protection of natural resources on Ometepe. Maderas Volcano Natural Reserve now has a trained team of full-time park rangers and significantly improved infrastructure, including ranger stations and improved tourist trails, catalyzing considerable momentum in enhanced protection and enforcement. FFI has also supported a model of participative management for Maderas Volcano Natural Reserve. Today, the Nicaraguan government considers Ometepe to be a national treasure, a national biodiversity conservation priority, as well as a flagship for tourism development. In June 2010 Ometepe Island was officially declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO – a tribute to the island’s cultural and biological wealth. Building on FFI’s strong track record of science-based and participatory approaches to conservation in the island of Ometepe, this project will address the urgent need to gather critical knowledge about B. insularis, while developing local capacity for amphibian population monitoring and promoting knowledge sharing with national and regional amphibian networks.
Project 11252298 location - Nicaragua, North America