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Mr Adum, How Do You Save Frogs?

Gilbert Adum is Ghana’s frogman. Crawling through the undergrowth, diving into ponds, wading through rivers – this is his job. As one of the founders and head of the SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana organisation, he passionately campaigns for the survival of the amphibians in his native country. His aim is to save frogs from extinction and conserve their environment. To this end, he uses all his powers of persuasion to engage miners and loggers as well as villagers in nature conservation.

  • By Kristin Hüttmann
Saturn-ähnliches Dekortationsbild

Gilbert Adum spent a year at the Museum fur Naturkunde in Berlin on an International Climate Protection Fellowship. He is now back in Ghana working for SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana once more.

Gilbert Adum

And who better than Gilbert Adum? His family descends from the Chiana-Gwenia, a tribe of hunters in northern Ghana. As a child, he catches frogs and eats them. The amphibians are part of the villagers’ staple diet. The frog hunter, however, turns brilliant schoolboy, quite capable of studying medicine. “But I could never imagine working as a doctor,” he says. “My love of nature was much greater.” So he studies natural resources management and soon discovers what an important role frogs play in the ecosystem. “Frogs are indispensable for the food chain in the forest and thus for us humans, too. On top of this, they eat disease-carrying mosquitoes.”

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Today, Adum is one of the leading amphibian conservationists on the African continent. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the prestigious Whitley Award, the Green Oscar. One particular frog has a special place in his heart: the Giant Squeaker Frog. He has never met anyone, he likes to report, who was not captivated by the call of this frog. When he then grins and imitates its squeaky courtship cry, you believe every word he says.

The Giant Squeaker Frog was thought to be extinct – until Adum and his team rediscovered a small population in 2009; they have been fighting for its survival ever since. “We have to protect its habitat by stopping the environmental damage being done by mining and logging and restoring natural plant growth.”

published in Humboldt Kosmos 106/2016

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