Tanzania conservation news – Rare toads return home to roost


Information was received over the weekend that a rare species of toads, near extinct now after the construction of a dam at Kihansi some time ago first greatly reduced the habitat of the ‘Kihansi Spray Toads’, aka Nectophrynoides Asperginis, before the remaining population suffered of a fungal disease which wiped out much of the remaining stock, likely caused by the change in habitat for the rare species, something the promoters of the dam had initially strongly denied and disputed.

However, some of the species had been taken to safety and were brought to some US zoos while some were kept under laboratory conditions at Dar es Salaam University, ensuring they could breed and the species would not disappear completely. This is now paying a handsome dividend, as hundreds of them, brought back to Tanzania from the United States were last week cleared by vets and declared free of any potential diseases and will alongside their ‘Tanzanian’ brethren be returned this week in a first wave of releasing them back into the Kihansi habitat. That part was greatly enhanced when the company eventually installed a spray irrigation system which maintains the resemblance of the toads former habitat and allows them to stay moist to avoid a future outbreak of the fungal disease which almost extinguished the species.

A success story at last, though with regrets that developers had initially dismissed the concerns with contempt only to be taught a mighty lesson along the road.