Name ID 734
Extract Date: 2000 Dec 1
TOMRIC Agency, Dar Es Salaam
About 500 endangered Toads have been transferred from Tanzania to various places in the United States for 'research' purposes, the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife has confirmed in Dar Es Salaam.
Five temporary homes are established at Baltimore in Maryland, Detroit in Michigan, Oklahoma City, Taledo in Ohio and Brookfield in Illinois United States.
The Toads left here yesterday to the US for what the Ministry says, was research also aimed at establishing whether they can survive in different conditions other than at Kihansi water falls spray, an area which is in Morogoro Region Eastern Tanzania..
Out of 500 Toads transferred, 250 are female and 250 males. Experts estimate that Kihansi water falls host between 10,000 to 12,000 Toads, which are found nowhere in the world apart from Tanzania.
Kihansi is the mountainous area where Tanzania has placed one of its largest hydropower projects. The project commended early this year. The Lower Kihansi Hydropower Project Resident Engineer, Mr. Olav Vallezik, says the 500 Toads, believed to be found only in Tanzania, will be distributed among different US universities for the World Bank funded research.
Mr. Vallezik, who puts the population of the Toads between 10,000 and 12,000, says their scientific name is Asperginus nectophrynoides and they were discovered in 1996 during the implementing of the power project.
Kihansi escarpment is estimated to be less than 200 meters wide in the Udzungwa Mountains between Iringa and Morogoro Regions.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, Mr. Philemon Luhanjo said here yesterday that the Toads were categorically as rare and endangered species because all over the world they are only found at the banks of Kihansi water falls in Tanzania.
Contrary to the common Toads (frogs), Luhanjo said, 'These does not lay eggs. They just produce young ones.' They do not stay in water, but live close to the banks of the liver so as to receive the water vapour evaporating from the waters falls, he added..
'Because of the ongoing construction of a new dam at Kihansi, the Toads will no longer receive adequate water vapour and we need to consider a new habitant,' said Luhanjo. According to him, the transfer to the US did not mean they had been sold, but only temporary to avoid their extinction, as Tanzania searched for a permanent home for the endangered frogs.
He said in a statement that two experts from Tanzania accompanied the Toads to the US so as to learn how to construct new shelter for them once they are reallocated from Kihansi natural habitant.
At Kihansi, the Toads were being allocated about 1.8 cubic meters of the water per second for their survival, the amount that could generate 14.5MW of electricity.