Saving wetland habitat for a Critically Endangered frog
The Endangered Wildlife Trust's Threatened Amphibian Programme is hard at work at four priority wetlands throughout the Durban area. One of the biggest threats facing the Critically Endangered Pickersgill's Reed Frog is loss of habitat. Normally, this is through agriculture (especially sugarcane) or urban and industrial development, but an emerging threat is that of habitat encroachment through invasive alien vegetation. Over the course of three years, we aim to work across an area over 500 hectares in extent with the primary aim of controlling alien vegetation at four wetland areas in Durban. As some of these areas are almost entirely covered by alien vegetation, we also need to replant indigenous plants. We are working with the local community and municipality to implement this work, which is also lending itself to multiple research opportunities (where we monitor both the species (watch the Song Meter video!) and the wetland health in response to rehabilitation activities). It is also allowing us to expand our social change work, and it has been great to see growth in the understanding and appreciation for biodiversity and the importance of wetlands through our team members: Says Tawanda Msomi, a team member working in the Bluff area: ‘It gives me a sense of pride to know that I am doing my bit to help the environment’. This is such an important statement for the bringing of social change. We are excited and proud to have the opportunity to nurture these Citizen Scientists in an effort to collectively care for our precious freshwater resources through contributing to knowledge banks and policing emerging environmental threats.