Saving the largest frog on earth is a mission

Frog Goliath

The goliath frog's imposing size immediately struck Cedrick Fogwan as he first encountered it.

It is the largest living frog in the world, reaching cat-size sizes.

After handling one during a rescue mission, he claims that it was almost like holding a (human) baby.

The conservationist from Cameroon became so enthralled that he started a project to defend the survival of the threatened species.

"When I discovered that this species was distinct—the largest in the world—I said that this is something that we cannot easily find elsewhere and I was proud of it," he says.

"The locals consider themselves fortunate to have such a thing; they attach a cultural value to it. ".

Rescued goliath frog
Goliath frogs can grow to be as large as domestic cats, reaching lengths of up to 32 cm (13 in) and weighing more than 3 point 25 kg (7 point 2 lb).

In Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, the goliath frog has been overfished for decades for both food and the pet trade.

The frog is now listed as endangered on the official extinction Red List because its habitat next to rivers and streams is rapidly being destroyed.

Even in Cameroon, many locals are unaware of the frog's importance to the ecosystem, such as its ability to prey on insects that harm crops. The frog is little-known to science.

In search of goliath frogs
The frog constructs a boulder nest next to a stream where it lives.

The conservation team attempts to convince hunters to act as citizen scientists by logging frog sightings rather than consuming them as food.

In order to establish snail farming as a substitute food source, they are also collaborating with neighborhood organizations.

With the goliath frog returning to new rivers in the Mount Nlonako Reserve, conservation efforts are beginning to bear fruit.

A turning point came with a phone call from a former poacher who said a frog had been taken by a neighbor. The frog was saved by Cedric, who was able to release it back into nature.

I think we can keep it forever, and we can keep being proud of it, he says.

The Wildlife Conservation Society, Fauna and Flora International, BirdLife International, and the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) are funding the project to save the goliath frog.

@hbriggs is Helen's handle on Twitter.

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