Dr Jeanne Tarrant, Manager, Threatened Amphibian Programme
This year saw the fourth consecutive ‘Leap Day for Frogs’ taking place. This national awareness campaign aims to point the spotlight, or headlamp, at frogs and highlight their plight of being the most threatened animals on Earth, but also celebrate the amazing diversity of these interesting creatures. The campaign is coordinated by the EWT’s Threatened Amphibian Programme, with the aim of getting as many schools, organisations and individuals across the country doing something to recognise frogs and their importance. See here for more details. This year, participants were encouraged to “Go Green for Frogs” by dressing in green at school or work. Overall, we had 5,000 participants, across five provinces, from 25 different organisations/schools/companies or individuals. Events ranged from school groups dressing in green, to presentations, to the creations of entire ‘frogging forums’! Part of the celebrations included a competition, and the lucky winners were:
- Ithuba Wild Coast Community College Primary School – most participants, and winners of a talk from our frog lady, Dr Jeanne Tarrant.
- Hannah Zunckel – the best photograph submitted with our origami frog, Freddy, and winner of a headlamp.
- Sharlene Van Der Slikke from KZN Coastal Frogging Forum – best individual effort, and winner of a Trappers hamper.
The EWT Threatened Amphibian Programme was involved in six events, including our regular joint venture with Kloof Conservancy. On Saturday, 24 February, 220 people gathered at Tanglewood Private Nature Reserve in Kloof, to take part in Leap Day for Frogs, 2018. The Tanglewood event was organised in collaboration with Kloof Conservancy as part of Leap Day for Frogs and as part of the Conservancy’s Back-to-Nature events. The afternoon started with various activity tables for children to learn about frog biology, including the life-cycle, breeding (children got to play with ‘frog eggs’ and blow foam nests), experience live frogs and snakes, as part of the food chain, as well as learn about how frogs are sensitive to pollution and other threats. Everyone enjoyed picnicking around the dam, followed by a short talk by Dr Jeanne Tarrant, and then a walk through the forest and around some of the dams to search for frogs by torch light. Once again, lots of fun was had by all, and it is super to see so many of the public supporting such events.
Thanks and appreciation go to Caryl Combrink and her family for once again allowing us to use their wonderful venue – a truly amazing gem of grassland and forest habitat tucked away behind the industrial setting of Pinetown. The EWT would especially like to thank Paolo Candotti and his team at Kloof Conservancy for partnering with us for the fifth year running and for donating all proceeds from the event to the EWT Threatened Amphibian Programme. Struik Nature is thanked for once again donating generous prizes of Apps of both the Complete Guide to Southern African Frogs and the children’s Young Explorer Frog App to lucky draw winners.
We would like to thank all of our participants this year, including SAAMBR, SAEON, Wilderness Safaris and the many schools that took part and made donations to the EWT’s Threatened Amphibian Programme.