Organisation: Zoological Society London Project focus: Gathering the evidence needed to conserve critical habitat for Viet Nam’s most threatened amphibians Location:Mount Fansipan, Hoang Lien National Park, Lao Cai Province, Viet Nam Project date: April 2021 – August 2022 Supported by: Fondation Segré
Organisation: Zoological Society London
Project focus: Gathering the evidence needed to conserve critical habitat for Viet Nam’s most threatened amphibians
Location:Mount Fansipan, Hoang Lien National Park, Lao Cai Province, Viet Nam
Project date: April 2021 – August 2022
Supported by: Fondation Segré
Mount Fansipan is a critical habitat for the Botsford’s Leaf Litter frog Leptobrachella botsfordi and Sterling’s Toothed Toad Oreolalax sterlingae, Viet Nam’s only Critically Endangered amphibians (Update: Since March 2021, Sterling’s Toothed Toad has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List). Both species were described in 2013 from a stream on the mountain, and while Sterling’s Toothed Toad is also found in a nearby district, Botsford’s Leaf Litter frog is endemic to this particular area.
The habitat is facing threats associated with tourism. There is garbage and run off from a campsite used by tourists wanting to climb Mount Fansipan, Viet Nam’s highest mountain. There is also significant gravel mining for infrastructure projects which removes key habitats needed for tadpole survival and may also cause siltation and sediment suspension.
Given the sensitivity of the two ASAP amphibian species to habitat degradation, there is an urgent need to collect evidence to inform stakeholders and decision-makers regarding the need to protect the species’ critical habitat.
To stop gravel mining within the protected area, stakeholders want to see proof that the activity is causing a decline in populations of the two species. The project will:
- Carry out comparison population studies at two sites, one with mining and one without.
- Present study results to stakeholders and decision makers
“The higher elevations of Mount Fansipan are home to two Critically Endangered frogs Botsford’s leaf-litter frog and Sterling’s toothed-toad. In recent years, infrastructural developments for tourism have degraded important habitats for these frogs. ASAP funding shall support a locally led team of international researchers to provide the evidence needed to conserve critical habitat for Vietnam’s most threatened amphibians.”
Ben Tapley, Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians, Zoological Society of London