9. Ecuador Adventures and Frogs – Suchipakari Part VI

A tiny frog rests on a human fingertip

Sunday, June 11th, To touch or not to touch.

That afternoon, we took another hike around the Suchipakari Trails, and learned more about how the locals use materials, such as catching birds with traps made out of palm.

Michael gave a presentation before dinner that evening on amphibian conservation. One of the most successful of international SAVE THE FROGS! chapters is Save the Frogs! Ghana.  Everyone is extremely proud of Gilbert Adum and the work he does on behalf of African frogs in general, and the threatened Giant Squeaker Frog in particular.  This bad news was posted by one of Gilbert’s friends on July 14th, with a list of the names of those who have died:  “New research shows that environmental defenders are being killed at the rate of almost four a week across the world.”

You Tube videos of Gilbert, include subjects ranging from his talking about the making of charcoal in forests that threaten habitat destruction, to his speech for Ghanese graduates in England, who have gotten their bachelor’s degrees majoring in the study of amphibians.

Sadly, there are a few international chapters, including Save the Frogs! Colombia, that either have become inactive, or haven’t gotten off the ground.  Victor is a scientific advisor for SAVE THE FROGS!  and a professor of conservation biology at the Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, Nayarit, Mexico.  He is a gentle, sweet man.

Victor is bringing his daughters up to share his love of the natural history and ecology of amphibians and reptiles, and gotten them to do presentations themselves in their pre teen years.  He is concerned about the environment, especially as impacted by human activities, including tourism. If I could peel him away from his cell phone every once in awhile, I would love to help him start a STF! Mexico chapter.

Jaime had a few surprises for us.  He often stayed out most of the night until early morning, and brought back treasures. The first was this scorpion.  Somehow, with all of the crowding around, the headlamps, and flashing cameras, I got some unusual photographic effects.


The other was the beautiful  glass frog he had captured.

Ever since I first learned about the glass frogs’ transparent belly, that reveals the stomach, intestines, liver and heart of this tiny creature, I have been completely enamored of it.  What a thrill it was to see it in person!

As they did with every frog they picked up, our guides made sure to put them back exactly where they were found.  We were not allowed to handle them if we had any bug spray on.

It is no surprise that I felt quite ambivalent about the experience; on the one hand, delighted to see frogs and other endemic or native life, but worried that we were frightening or otherwise going to do harm to my favorite creatures.

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