Taipei Frog Research and Conservation
To promote the survival of Taipei frogs in Taiwan by means of research, habitat restoration and environmental education
Because of habitat loss, wetland destruction and extreme use of pesticides in the environment, the Taipei frog (Rana taipehensis), once a common species found throughout the wetlands of the lowlands of western Taiwan, has become an endangered species in Taiwan. Over the last decade its population has decreased rapidly. In 2006, it could only be found in Taipei, Taoyuan, Tainan and Pingtung counties. The Taipei frog’s current distribution is continually decreasing because of habitat fragmentation. Although the Taipei frog is globally rated as "least concern" because it is not threatened in its mainland range, there are areas outside Taiwan where the species has become endangered or even locally extinct, for example in Hong Kong.
Taipei Zoo is undertaking efforts in various ways, both in situ and ex situ, to prevent the regional extinction of the Taipei frog in northern Taiwan. These efforts include: research, restoration of habitats, local people involvement and environmental education:
- Research includes morphological and genetic studies as well as research into the life history and ecology of the frogs.
- Restoration of habitats occurs within the zoo's property, where a one-hectare area has been converted into marshland for ex situ conservation at the zoo, and at the San-Chi lotus ponds, where biodiversity is being restored by volunteers and zoo staff who uproot - often under the fiery summer sun - the water lilies, which have become the dominant species overgrowing everything else. The efforts have been rewarded by the record-breaking number of frogs sighted at the San-Chi lotus ponds in subsequent surveys.
- Local people involvement focuses on assisting the farmers around the San-Chi lotus ponds in using organic farming methods and helping them to sell organically grown water lilies to the Tsu-Xin Organic Agriculture Foundation.
- Environmental education includes on the one hand activities at the zoo, such as establishing a "wetland park", providing conservation-themed educational panels in the reptile and amphibian building and making sustainable environmental education a main focus of the zoo's educational activities, and on the other hand outreach activities in cooperation with local teachers and schools to carry out habitat improvement work and community education programmes about wetland conservation.
WAZA Conservation Project 06027 is implemented by Taipei Zoo, in cooperation with the Tsu-Xin Organic Agriculture Foundation.
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