December 1, 2021


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How the critically endangered Anaimalai flying frog obtained a new residence

Naturalist Hadlee Renjith’s challenge to conserve the endangered Anaimalai traveling frog at a plantation in Munnar triggers an organic and natural movement to revive its habitat

In a corner of a sprawling cardamom plantation at Pothamedu in Munnar, a small but inspiring story unfolds. A critically endangered frog species, the Racophorus pseudomalabaricus or Anaimalai flying frog, is receiving a new house.

Naturalist, frog fanatic and Kerala Tourism guidebook Hadlee Renjith, who qualified prospects herping excursions in Munnar, produced two ponds at Windermere Estate to restore the habitat for the Anaimalai traveling frog. He struck on the strategy on one particular of his photography tours at the 60-acre residence, when he caught a glimpse of the frog in a cement tank previously used for irrigation.

The critically endangered Anaimalai flying frog

The critically endangered Anaimalai flying frog
| Image Credit rating: Hadlee Renjith

Hadlee sought support from the Wildlife Belief of India (WTI), which took it up as its to start with fast motion project for amphibian conservation and available to fund it. Thankfully, the plantation owners quickly agreed, demarcating an region, which they pledged to go away undisturbed.

“Trees and the undergrowth in a cardamom plantation supply the ideal atmosphere for these frogs to hibernate,” states Hadlee. “Everything they want for survival — trees, rain and a h2o pool — are suitable in this article, so we can re-build a favourable ecosystem.”

Frog facts

  • Also acknowledged as the Phony Malabar Gliding Frog, this species is commonly larger sized than bush frogs: the woman can improve up to 3 inches. Mating can take place ordinarily among June and October, in the course of the rainy year. The woman produces foam nests on leaves, into which the eggs are laid and the male fertilises them. The outer layer of foam guards the eggs from microorganisms, predators and temperature improvements. When the eggs hatch, the nest disintegrates and tadpoles drop into the drinking water entire body below.

Endemic to the southern portion of the Western Ghats, the figures of these frogs have declined promptly owing to the decline of habitat. When the grasslands of Munnar were being transformed to tea plantations, some of the Shola forests grew to become cardamom plantations. Munnar has an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 hectares less than cardamom cultivation, and though trees are safeguarded, undergrowth is generally cleared main to the habitat decline of quite a few frog and reptile species.

Hadlee set to work with two close friends, his wife and daughter, digging the earth for ponds. The larger pond is about 10-feet-extensive, a few-toes large and 2.5-feet deep. They lined these with jute sacks and tarpaulin to hold drinking water through the dry time period. They then extra pebbles and planted vegetation to make pure hiding places for the frogs.

“We produced awareness among the the plantation supervisors to refrain from clearing undergrowth just prior to harvesting cardamom,” provides Hadlee, who is functioning on a industry tutorial on frogs in Munnar, for which 30 species have been determined.

How the critically endangered Anaimalai flying frog got a new home

A conservation experiment such as this on a personal plantation builds discussions all over sustainability and biodiversity preservation, states Vivek Menon, founder-trustee and executive director of WTI. It is also triggering a movement to revive habitats of endemic species and persuade the notion of natural and organic cultivation and lesser pesticide use, he adds.

WTI challenge on amphibian restoration

“We aid personal initiatives such as this and are also scheduling a very long-term undertaking on amphibian recovery in Southern Western Ghats. We aim to concentrate on three to 4 threatened amphibian species,” Vivek says.

The project has served dispel myths surrounding the frog. “There is a well-known misconception that these frogs feed on the cardamom pods. They really don’t feed on the pods they feed on insects and other pests as an alternative,” says Simon John, proprietor of the Windermere Estate, in which naturalists consider visitors on herping excursions.

Hadlee is pleased that his 1st endeavor at conservation has yielded success. “I spotted seven tadpoles in just one of the ponds. And this indicates there could be extra.”