Adrian Armstrong – Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Jeanne Tarrant – Endangered Wildlife Trust
Ian Du Plessis – Johannesburg Zoo
Donovan Kotze – South African National Biodiversity Institute
The Biodiversity Management Plan for Pickersgill’s reed frog (Hyperolius pickersgilli) (BMP-PRF) was gazetted on 2 June 2017 with the aim of improving the conservation status of this endangered species. This presentation details what has been achieved during the second year of implementation of the BMP. Two more municipalities have included wetlands containing H. pickersgilli into their environmental planning or management systems. Seventy hectares of habitat are under a “Biodiversity Agreement” in the Adam’s Mission area, with the aim of proclaiming the entire 500 ha wetland system as a protected area. One more H. pickersgilli sub-population has been found. A database of distribution records for H. pickersgilli is kept updated by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. Research led by the National Zoological Garden (NZG-SANBI) resulted in the publication of a scientific paper indicating that H. pickersgilli has a single genetic population. The captive-breeding of H. pickersgilli has reached F2 generation at Joburg Zoo. A detailed husbandry manual is near completion. A protocol that considers wild population sources for the parental frogs for captive breeding, diseases, simulation of natural environmental conditions in captivity, genetics, life-cycle stage for release, and choice of release sites was implemented. A total of 250 captive-bred H. pickersgilli have been released at Mount Moreland and River Horse Valley near Durban so far. Initial monitoring at Mount Moreland resulted in one released frog being sighted. Media coverage of the implementation of the BMP-PRF included more than 14 media outlets: television, online documentaries, social media and newspaper articles. More than 600 learners have done the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s “Frogs in the Classroom” educational modules. Implementation of the BMP-PRF is mainly on track and the co-operative nature of the work has proved very fruitful in achieving the results so far.