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Unveiling the Rich Amphibian and Reptilian Species of Sierra Leone

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Unveiling the Rich Amphibian and Reptilian Species of Sierra Leone

An intent that started one year ago has definitely catapulted into success in the field of biodiversity registry in Sierra Leone especially for reptiles and amphibians.

With the help of the GEF Small Grant Program, the Reptile and Amphibian Program – Sierra Leone (RAP-SL) has registered more species as it surveys the Western Area Peninsula and other parts of Sierra Leone.

So far, RAP-SL has recorded 48 species out of 62 amphibian species of which IUCN database has only 55 for Sierra Leone. The seven species added to the list for Sierra Leone include: 1) Arthroleptis formosus, 2) Arthroleptis sp, 3) Cardioglossa occidentalis, 4) Hemisus marmoratus, 5) Hylarana occidentatlis, 6) Phrynabatrachus gutturosus, and 7). Ptychadena oxyrhynchus These species are no new species as they are recorded for neighboring countries including Guinea and Liberia. The only issue here is that they aren’t on IUCN record for Sierra Leone. This clearly underscores the importance of biodiversity registry in Sierra Leone and RAP-SL is particularly grateful to the GEF Small Grant Program for believing and funding the Survey.

For reptiles, RAP-SL has so far recorded and identified 45 out of the 67 Wikipedia record for Sierra Leone. It is believed that there are more reptilian species to be recorded and identified in Sierra Leone as some snake species caught or sighted during the GEF Small Grant funded survey are yet to be identified and are therefore not included in the already 45 identified species.

As opposed to amphibians, reptiles are generally difficult to survey. This is so because there are no standard methods for surveying them, all has always been opportunistic encounters since they don’t call and majorities are very shy and swift.

During the period of the GEF Small Grant Funded Survey, RAP-SL was particular happy to present a preliminary result of its effort in a Forum organized by STEWARD through the UNDP office in Freetown. The Forum brought together member Implementing Partners, Civil Society Organizations, Journalists, Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations and some Government Authorities. The presentation was climaxed with questions particularly about snakes. Eddie photographing a snakeThe issue of snakes has always been common concerns throughout RAP-SL activities in both the field and towns. In all communities visited with education and sensitization, RAP-SL has always been given deaf ears in the case of snakes. The economic importance of reptiles, especially snakes in the environment and the agricultural industry are not realized by locals at all, instead majorities are generally considered dangerous animals. However, RAP-SL hopes to debunk these feelings and help people to understand the economic importance of these species in the near future.

                                                       Edward Aruna, B. Sc, M. Sc (Environmental Biology), Founder and Managing Director, RAP-SL 

Read 25823 times Last modified on Thursday, 04 September 2014 05:50

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