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El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center (EVACC)

2020 Josh's Frogs Amphibian Conservation Grant Winner - $500

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EVACC has been critical in saving many species from extinction, most notably the Panamanian Golden Frog (Atelopus zeteki). Here, Zach interviews Edgardo J. Griffith, Founder of the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center, about how the grant money will be used, and amphibian conservation at large.

What specifically do you plan on using the grant money for?

The funding will be use to plan and organize two field trips, mostly to pay for food and logistics, plus some field equipment. Each field trip of 2 nights each, we will focus on setting up ropes to climb trees, look for tree holes for species in the genus Ecnomiohyla, and do night surveys, (both visual and acoustic) to verify the presence/absence of the species in the forest. We will collect basic environmental data, which will gives us an idea of what is happening out there. Once we have enough data we can compare it to our historical data.

What does winning this grant allow you to do that you might not have otherwise?

It will allow us to go back to the field to look for two species with a high conservation priority; Ecnomiohyla rabborum (CR) and E. miliaria (VU). We just moved our amphibian ex situ conservation project to a new location, so our funding for fieldwork is quite reduced right now. Without the grant, we would not be able to go back out there.

When do you expect to see results from this? What are you hoping they look like?

It will depends on how the mobility restrictions associated with CoV-SARS 2 are lift up in the area. As soon as that happen we will make the necessary coordination with local authorities and logistics. We hope to see the results towards the end of all the field trips, (e.g: If we start in September, we should have results by the endo of November, 2020).

How will this impact amphibian conservation specific to this instance?

If we find the species E. rabborum, will help us provide the necessary information and update the species conservation status. It will also make our chances to continue working with the species in the field, bigger.

What are the larger implications of your work?

Reducing the risk of extinction of a handful of Critically Endangered Amphibian species, create awareness about amphibian decline and habitat degradation throughout the local and international community. Learn about the species we work with and prepare them for future reintroductions.

What message or information would you like to share with the reptile and amphibian pet community?

Amphibians need our help, now more than ever. Maybe now that everybody is familiar with the term “Pandemic, quarantine and pathogen” it will be easier to make the connections, since amphibians are still suffering from a pandemic event, caused by the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. It might also help if we remind the hobbyist, conservation and research community that the species we are working with in Panama, have been in complete isolation or quarantine in captivity for over 5100 days (that is over 14 years). To those who like to keep critters at home, make sure are getting it from a responsible breeder and do not collect wild animals.

How would someone make a donation to your organization?

We have two ways, one would be transferring the donation directly in to our El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center Foundation bank account or they could also donate to us in the US, through the Golden Frog Project, ear marking the donation towards EVACC Foundation (www.projectorandadorada.org; paypal.me/ProjectGoldenFrog)

Where could someone learn more about your project?

Our website www.evaccfoundation.org and social media Fb/ IG @evaccfoundation

Anything else you feel we should know or discuss?

We keep animals in captivity as a need, the reason we started doing it was based on love and solidarity, 14 years later, we are still doing it and unfortunately, things have gotten worst in the last few years. Our fight is against not only habitat lost and a introduced pathogen but lately, against other organizations that does not necessarily have the same intentions as we do.

We realized that the more of us working in collaboration, the better, hence we would like to create a partnership with Josh’s Frogs and continue working together for a better future in research, conservation and environmental education.

Thanks again and we are looking forward to work together

BIO

Edgardo J. Griffith R.
Conservation Biologist
Fundación Centro de Conservación de Anfibios de El Valle
President
G & S Nature and Environmental Consultants S.C.
Executive Director
El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center (EVACC)
Founder and Former Director

This is part of our Josh's Frogs Conservation Initiatives, where we work to pair the success of species in captivity with their success in the wild. To read more about our conservation efforts, click here.

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