New frog species found in Atewa Range Forest Reserve

Scientists have discovered a critically endangered frog species found nowhere in the world beyond the Atewa Range Forest Reserve.

The presence of the species indicates that the health of that environment is clean and could support well-being, Mr Daryl Bosu,
Deputy National Director A Rocha Ghana, has told the Ghana News Agency in Accra.

He explained that, “the presence of species such as frogs, butterflies and birds connote good environment, especially where water sources are found. Atewa Forest is a source of water for residents of Accra, Eastern Region and Central Region, so finding species that are sensitive to pollutants means the quality of water is guaranteed”.

The new frog species adds to the more than ten other species of wildlife, including butterflies and other insects, frogs, spiders, plants and trees, found nowhere else in the world other than the Atewa Forest.

Mr Bosu mentioned that the new species, called Conraua sagyimase, had been named after the community of Sagyimase, at the foot of the Atewa Forest, which is supporting the life of frogs.

The Akan common name for the new species is “kwaeɛ mu nsutene apɔnkyerɛne,” meaning the frog of the forest streams.

Mr Bosu said the frog, just like the other species, played an important role in the ecological system by controlling insects and pests.

He noted that the discovery had come on the back of the recent global designation of Atewa Forest as an Alliance for Zero Extinction site (AZE), a designation that meant the area was now a “No-Go Area” for companies and banks, in line with the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards for project financing.

He recalled that earlier this year, another new frog species, named Afia Birago Puddle Frog, gave rise to the AZE designation.

Mr Bosu stated that Conraua sagyimase was found only in five streams in the northern part of the Atewa Range Forest Reserve.

The scientists who made the discovery, include a Ghanaian, Dr Caleb Ofori-Boateng from the CSIR-Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (CSIR-FORIG).

They said the new frog species occupied relatively pristine upland evergreen forest habitats within an elevation range of ~ 500–750 meters above sea level.

The frogs are largely found in rocky, clear, generally fast-flowing streams and waterfalls, with a few also located in slow-flowing streams.

In a published paper, Dr. Caleb Ofori-Boateng said “the name of the new species has been chosen to honour the people of the Sagyimase community.

“This small community has supported the research of scientists as well as the anti-mining campaigns during 2006–2007. We hope that the naming of this endemic species will further encourage this community in their fight for an intact Atewa Range”.

The scientists said the discovery once again highlighted the importance of the Atewa Range Forest Reserve as a critical conservation area within the Upper Guinean biodiversity hotspot, lending further support to the national and international advocacy campaign to make Atewa Range Forest a National Park in its entirety.

In November 2020, IUCN Resolution 087 was passed asking for global action to make Atewa Forest a National Park to secure the invaluable collection of biodiversity as well as its crucial water provisioning services for over five million Ghanaians.

Source: GNA

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