Frog Blog

Dr. Carlos Martinez Rivera
Frog Blog
 
Dr. Carlos Martinez Rivera, Philadelphia Zoo's Amphibian Conservation Biologist, returns to Haiti on a mission to save critically endangered amphibians and their habitat through field research, capacity building and management. Almost two years ago to the date, on October 2010, the zoo rescued some of the world's most endangered amphibians found only in Haiti. A team of amphibian biologists that included Dr. Martinez, Dr. Blair Hedges (Evolutionary Biologist-Penn State U), and Dr. Robin Moore (Conservation International) traveled along with Philippe Bayard (President of Sociètè Audubon Haiti) and a group of professional nature photographers and enthusiasts from different backgrounds and NGO's to rescue these endangered amphibians and document the collapse of Biodiversity in Haiti. The wildlife of Haiti has unfortunately suffered as well from the inevitable consequences of extreme poverty. Only 1% of forests remain in this otherwise tropical paradise.

Today Dr. Martínez Rivera returns to the country to collaborate with Sociètè Audubon Haiti and the Ministries of Agriculture and of the Environment, in an effort to implement a two year conservation and capacity building project for the country that incorporates collaboration between the government and private institutions.

The project is regional in scope and will also take Dr. Martinez Rivera to the neighboring Dominican Republic, where he will further the project with field work, training and capacity building for key stakeholders from that country.

The project, titled: Building Capacity and Conservation Management Plans for Endangered Amphibians in Four Key Biodiversity Areas in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, is a two year multi national and multi agency effort made possible by the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund and the Philadelphia Zoo.

Blog Entries:

10/31/2012 : Day 10 Blog Entry

We all remember the movie Finding Nemo and we all feel sorry for wildlife that is illegally and unsustainably harvested. Yesterday we set out from Port-au-Prince to look for frogs and ended up all the way down in Anse-a-Pitre, a small fishing village in the border with the Dominican Republic. We had an excellent time teaching our assistants how to look for frogs and catch frogs without harming them. We also taught the assistants new fieldwork techniques.

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10/30/2012 : Day 9 Blog Entry - Part 2

Road distances in Haiti can be relatively short, but it takes effort to travel anywhere, especially in the countryside. We’ve been meandering our way in a 4x4 vehicle up the dry riverbed sections of the Solie River inching closer to Thiotte, a rather large village in Haiti’s southeast mountains and quite possibly the country’s coffee capital.

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10/26/2012 : Day 9 Blog Entry

Everything in Haiti takes at least twice the effort. The lack of adequate infrastructure, poor road systems, and lack of proper government support to say the least, means that everything here will cost you more, will take longer and might not come out right on the first try.

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10/25/2012 : Day 8 Blog Entry

Wildlife conservation has many aspects and fieldwork is only a small part of it. True conservation is achieved when we effect change on those that are most closely involved with the plants and animals we are trying to save. One way of doing this is by bringing endangered wildlife and the pressing issues affecting them to the people. This is what many zoo and conservation institutions like us at the Philadelphia Zoo do routinely.

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10/13/2012 : Day 7 - Last Day of Meetings Blog Entry

There is a lot of planning and logistics involved in field expeditions, especially when you are starting from scratch in a place where only a few scientists have been and their research is far and between. Joel and I traced the route that would take us out of Port-au-Prince through Route National #1 and in to Route Haiti 8 east towards the Dominican Republic and then up the eastern pass over Massif de la Selle through Route Departmental 102 which is dirt road fit for the best off-road rally.

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10/10/2012 : Day 5 - The real flavor of Hatian Creole Blog Entry

After a long week of planning meetings and workshops, I get to spend some time at the guesthouse where I’m staying so I can do more planning and writing...

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10/09/2012 : Day 4 - A UNIQ opportunity to effect change from the ground up! Working with students from Université Quisqueya, Haiti

Quisqueya University is one of the main centers of higher learning in Haiti. It is a private university that emerged from the earthquake with a vision to rebuild itself with an international scope.

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10/09/2012 : Day 3 - There’s still hope for Haiti’s biodiversity, meeting Masani Accimé and Evanita Sanon

Yesterday’s meeting was very interesting. It followed the classic line of discussion that occur when you have to many people in the same room. Quickly the group was divided into what was the best strategy.

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10/08/2012 : Day 2 - Attending the ‘Lancement du Groupe de Travail et de reflexion sur les Aires Protegees’

Working with Société Audubon Haiti has its advantages. The group is very well connected with the local and international conservation community working in the country.

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10/07/2012 : Day 1 - Welcome to the Land of the High Mountains

Ayiti means the land of the high mountains; at 8,793 feet (2,680 meters) above sea level, Pic la Selle, which is the tallest peak in Haiti along with Pic Macaya and Morne Kadeneau, which rise to above 7,000 ft, many mountains here are taller than Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the Appalachians.

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