Catching the mountain chickens to swab them is not as easy as it sounds; finding them for one, even with the radio transmitters it isn’t always a given that the frogs are moving more and further distances we have our work cut out for us! Even when we do find them they might be underground in burrows or under the rocks and completely inaccessible! It is important to catch the frogs and swab them once a week to monitor the levels of the chytrid fungus on the skin of the frogs.
Sarah-Louise attacks the evening session with a plan; she and Jenny were going to check all the frog locations and swab all frogs at the last two release sites, while Black and I were designated the ‘Missing Frog’ team. We set out with a radioreceiver each and our list of frequencies for the 3 missing frogs that had bounded off during the week. It’s was going to be a long night, systematically searching through the forest either side of the Ghuat and to check higher up the ghaut where it forks into two.
We climbed the eastern fork of the ghaut higher and higher, then miracle of all miracles Blacka picked up a faint beep on his radioreceiver. Incredible! And low and behold all three frogs were hanging out together! We identified where the frogs were, buried deep in the leaf litter, only seeing eye-shine if we were looking at them head on, if you weren’t then they just disappeared into the leaf litter, invisible. All three of our missing frogs had found one another and travelled about 500m up the slope and away from the ghaut and the original release sites, what a feat. Sarah-Louise was excited to hear the news and headed straight up to meet us with the kit bag so we could check them out and swab them. All three were males and the all looked great, it was such a great relief to find them and well. It’s a fantastic feeling to walk away from the release site at the end of the night knowing they are all accounted for.
–Nadine Wohl, Volunteer