In December 2018 (scheduled dates: 4-6) I will be honoured to participate to an important workshop dedicated to the conservation of Mantella cowanii, one of the most threatened frogs of Madagascar, known as “harlequin mantella”. This small terrestrial frog is limited to the high plateau of Madagascar. This area is particularly known since it is almost totally deforested and subject to repeated fires. Mantella cowanii, which was once likely much more distributed, today is known to a few sites, which are also much isolated. The most known site is around the village of Antoetra, not far from Ambositra. The other sites where the species is known to occur (or at least from where it was recently signalled) are around Ambatolampy, on the Itremo Massif, and around Betafo (not far from Antsirabe). In the past the species was actively collected for the pet-trade, but since 2003 the species’ trade is under ban. During the meeting, that will be realised within the activities of the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group / Madagascar there will be the chance to relaunch the conservation actions needed for this species, especially in the context of the so-called “Sahonagasy Action Plan”, the project which aims to protected the extremely rich amphibian fauna of Madagascar, currently known with more than 320 described species and at least other 200 to be described in the forthcoming years.
Mantella cowanii, the harlequin mantella from central Madagascar
Photograph by Franco Andreone