News / Americas

Frogs Hang On in Haiti

Rediscovered lost species sound hopeful note

The Conservation International frog hunt rediscovered the Ventriloquial frog, which projects its call like a ventriloquist.
The Conservation International frog hunt rediscovered the Ventriloquial frog, which projects its call like a ventriloquist.

Multimedia

Audio
Rosanne Skirble

As Haiti marks the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake that destroyed its capital, the Haitian people continue to struggle to rise from the ruins that still surround them.

One sign of hope is in the country’s dwindling forested region, where a team of scientists journeyed late last year in search of lost frogs.

Cloudforest at around 1,600 meters on the Massif de la Hotte, Haiti, is home to many critically endangered amphibians and one of the highest priority sites for conservation worldwide.
Cloudforest at around 1,600 meters on the Massif de la Hotte, Haiti, is home to many critically endangered amphibians and one of the highest priority sites for conservation worldwide.

Frog hunt

Robin Moore led the frog hunt. He’s a scientist with Conservation International and leader of a global campaign to find lost frogs. He spent eight days last October in the cloud forest in the southern part of the country, scouring trees, river beds and ground cover for frogs.

One day, he heard a call from a frog that was easy to identify but hard to catch. “One of the challenges is it really does throw its voice," Moore says. "So we would spend an hour, an hour and a half, honing in on this frog and we kept finding that we weren’t finding it where it was supposedly calling from.”

It turned out to be a strategy the Hispaniolan Ventriloquial frog uses to defend itself against predators. The tiny brown and orange frog hadn’t been seen in 20 years. The team also found five other lost species and about half of the 50 amphibians known to live in the region.

Another rediscovery by the Conservation International Team, the Macaya Burrowing Frog, lays its eggs underground.
Another rediscovery by the Conservation International Team, the Macaya Burrowing Frog, lays its eggs underground.

Moore says this was an encouraging sign given such widespread deforestation in Haiti, where only two percent of the original forest survives. “We’re at a point where we need to try to really protect these last fragments of forest in order to have something to build on.”

Looking to the future

Moore says the surviving healthy forest underscores the importance of protecting natural ecosystems for the services they provide, not only for amphibians, but for the entire watershed.

Denuded hillsides of the Massif de la Selle in southern Haiti is an important watershed that feeds Port-au-Prince.
Denuded hillsides of the Massif de la Selle in southern Haiti is an important watershed that feeds Port-au-Prince.

“They are filtering water that is supplying downstream communities and cities downstream including Port-au-Prince that is supplied by water that originates in these mountains.”

Moore says if forests are cleared, the soil erodes and muddies the water people use to drink. “So, just one of the services provided by the forests is clean water.”

Conservation International plans to work with non-governmental groups in Haiti to help people learn how to make a living from the forest without destroying it. Moore says the cultivation of shade grown coffee is one such idea.

A river fed by the Massif de la Hotte watershed runs brown because of deforestation upstream.
A river fed by the Massif de la Hotte watershed runs brown because of deforestation upstream.

“It’s hard for them to invest in things like this because it is a long-term investment. So we want to be able to absorb some of that risk and provide ways for them to earn a living without having to cut down the forest, to make charcoal, to clear areas to grow cash crops.”

Moore says, managed properly, species and ecosystems can become a source of natural wealth and national pride for Haiti.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Canadian Soldier Dies in Car Attack Linked to Radical Islam

Police shoot and kill driver - suspected Islamic radical - after he rammed into two soldiers Monday in parking lot in Quebec province
More

UN Rights Chief Urges Venezuela to Free Opposition Leader

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein calls for release of Leopoldo Lopez and scores of others detained in a crackdown on protests that began in February
More

Brazil's Lula Back Campaigning for Rousseff - and Maybe Himself

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva remains the one true rock star of Brazilian politics, introduced to adoring crowd of thousands over weekend as 'our eternal president'
More

Former Chilean Mayor Arrested for Pinochet-era Human Rights Crimes

Cristian Labbe, a retired colonel who later served as mayor of Providencia, is a subject of probe into rights violations, a government spokesman said
More

Poll: Venezuela's Maduro Approval Rating Drops to 30 Percent

Rating dropped from 35.4 percent in July to 30.2 percent in Sept., according to Datanalisis, amid ongoing economic crisis that has weighed on president's popularity
More

Free Expression Demands Online Compete With Needs for Curbs

Resolving competing concerns between guaranteeing freedom of expression online and preventing malicious or criminal acts is tough trick even in best of times
More