When I first started this project, I figured my chances of actually finding the ancestral species, let alone the specific source population, were slim to none. But the presence of seven endemic amphibians on two tiny oceanic islands serves as a constant reminder that with enough time, anything is possible!
Finding tadpoles of the Príncipe Giant Treefrog will help identify what types of habitat this endemic species relies on, but after many years of searching for them, finding these elusive tadpoles has also become a matter of personal pride.
As part of a nine-person biodiversity and education expedition to the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe, Young Explorer Rayna Bell is searching for elusive treefrogs at night and spreading knowledge about local biodiversity during the day.
With the recent discovery of offshore oil, São Toméans will soon face the challenge of reconciling rapid economic development with preserving their natural heritage. The problem is that no one knows how many species occupy the islands or how irreplaceable that diversity might be.