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Maxon Fildor and Anderson Jean

Empowering Locals

01/06/2015

Our in situ amphibian conservation project in Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) is not just field work and finding frogs—if we do not empower the local conservationist and local government agencies with the knowledge we’ve gathered over the past two years, all of our efforts finding lost frogs and trying to identify what frogs live on the last remaining forests become of little value.
 
With this in mind, we’ve enabled our staff and volunteers to participate on several training events on amphibian conservation.

One of these events occurred in Santo Domingo just a few months ago, from October 1 to October 4. The Saint Louis Zoo joined Barrick Pueblo Viejo Biodiversity Group and the National Zoo in Santo Domingo to carry a four-day course on amphibian biology and medicine.

Staff from Societe Audubon Haiti—Maxon Fildor and Anderson Jean, who are key part in our project—joined over 20 professional biologists and veterinarians from the Dominican Republic in this workshop, providing the latest information on the issues affecting frogs in the wild and captivity. Another participant who has been a key element and trainee of our project is Eveling Gabot from ZooDOM, who currently oversees the captive breeding program for amphibians there. After this workshop, our team from Societe Audubon Haiti was able to see state-of-the-art facilities and  had the chance to interact with a varied group of researchers.
 
During the past weeks, we’ve summarized our work for 2014 and presented it to key government staff at the Santo Domingo headquarters of the Ministry of the Environment in the Dominican Republic and the regional offices of the Ministry of the Environment in Haiti. The main purpose of these meetings is to ensure that they are all aware of the conservation status of the forests inhabited by endangered amphibians. We hope that through this informative sessions these key players will better understand the importance of amphibians and the role they play in our daily lives, and they will be better concerned about their future as part of the ecosystem.

Maxon Fildor, Eveling Gabot, and Anderson Jean
Haitian Biologists Maxon Fildor and Anderson Jean, who have been part of our field efforts in Haiti since 2012, learn about amphibian biology and Conservation at the National Zoo in Santo Domingo. Eveling Gabot, who routinely joins us in our expeditions and field visits, was also present at the course.

Ministry of Environment Talk
Sixto Inchaustegui from Grupo Jaragua, our local partner in the Dominican Republic, coordinated a meeting with the Biodiversity group from the Ministry of the Environment in Santo Domingo, where we discussed the details of our work in the field for 2014.

Haiti Ministry of Environment Talk
A meeting with the local management unit for Pic Macaya National Parc in Cam Perrin, Haiti. Most of the Haitian frogs that we house in our
ex situ conservation program here at the Zoo are from Massif de la Hotte, where Pic Macaya National Parc is located. Our meeting with the team will help us ensure that proper frog habitat is preserved for the endangered amphibians of Haiti.