The Leaché lab is hosting visiting professor Dr. Caleb Ofori-Boateng from Ghana. I first met Caleb in 2006 during a Conservation International Rapid Assessment Program survey of some forested regions in Ghana, and we’ve been collaborating ever since. Caleb recently won the prestigious Future for Nature Award for his conservation efforts to protect the last remaining populations of the critically endangered Togo slippery frog in Ghana. He is visiting the lab with funding from the Zoological Society of London EDGE Fellowship Program.
There are only two isolated populations of this frog remaining in Ghana (the Atewa Hills and the Togo-Volta region), and Caleb is collecting molecular genetic data from samples that he collected from these populations to investigate their genetic diversity. In Ghana, Caleb has developed an outreach program dubbed “conservation evangelism,” in which he educates locals about the merits of conservation biology while they are congregated at church. He integrates his conservation message into a “sermon”, and because local people generally trust information provided by religious centers they are accepting of the conservation message.
Caleb conservation work has been quite successful. He lobbied to stop mining in the Atewa Hills, and his conservation evangelism outreach programs has helped reduce hunting pressure and human consumption of the Togo slippery frog. His current efforts are aimed at designating the Atewa Hills as a National Park, which would help protect the Togo slippery frog in the long-term, as well as other threatened species, including chimpanzees, the long-tailed pangolin, Geoffroy’s pied colobus, and the Nimba flycatcher.
Selected publications from Dr. Ofori-Boateng:
Ofori‐Boateng, Oduro, Hillers, Norris, Oppong, Adum, & Rödel. 2013. Differences in the effects of selective logging on amphibian assemblages in three West African forest types. Biotropica 45:94-101.
Adum, Eichhorn, Oduro, Ofori-Boateng, & Rödel. 2013. Two‐stage recovery of amphibian assemblages following selective logging of tropical forests. Conservation Biology 27:354-363.
Adum, Ofori-Boateng, Oduro, & Rödel. 2011. Re-discovery of the Giant West African Squeaker, Arthroleptis krokosua Ernst, Agyei & Rödel, 2008 (Amphibia: Anura: Arthroleptidae) in two forests of south-western Ghana with observations on the species’ variability and habitat preferences. Zootaxa 2744:34-38.
Hillers, Ofori-Boateng, Segniagbeto, Agyei, & Rödel. 2009. Assessment of the amphibians in the forests of southern Ghana and western Togo. Zoosystematics and evolution 85:127-141.