Yesterday I traveled by bus from Accra to Kumasi. It was a surprisingly pleasant 5 hour bus ride and I was able to see much of the countryside. Sadly I observed many examples of habitat degradation during my travel and mostly it was in the form of forest being converted into farmland and incredibly destructive mining practices.
This billboard is at major stopping point for Ghanaian citizens as this area is a rest stop between Accra and Kumasi—two of Ghana’s largest cities. At this junction the road splits off and heads to Atewa Hills, which is an area of incredible biodiversity. As this area is key to the protection of the Atewa Hills region and is a stopping area for thousands of people every day, this is the proposed site for SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana’s first advertisements. On the billboard there will be information about the need to protect the Atewa Hills from the threat of over logging and illegal mining.
Once I reached Kumasi and became settled in at my lodging, peace was quickly restored. I am staying at a guest house at the far end of the campus on Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST). The house borders a forest and I am privileged to see many beautiful birds, butterflies and lizards on my doorstep! I heard frogs last night, but was unable to spot them.
I like to put stickers on my laptop and I am so happy that I did! The large green frog is a sticker about an anti-vivisection campaign and it is pretty cute, so I slapped it on the laptop. It is a good thing I did as it attracted this future frog saver! He approached me about the sticker and I showed him lots of photos of frogs. He became quite excited to see photos of frogs calling!
Future Wildlife Warrior!
Today I met with the Executive Director of SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana, Gilbert Adum, and with leaders of the SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana student chapter at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST) to discuss amphibian conservation efforts in Ghana. It was an incredibly productive meeting!
The group gathers together to discuss amphibian conservation efforts in Kumasi – SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Executive Director Gilbert Adum, SAVE THE FROGS! Chapter Executive Committee at KNUST, and SAVE THE FROGS! Advisory Committee Chairman Michael Starkey
SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Executive Director Gilbert Adum and SAVE THE FROGS! Advisory Committee Chairman Michael Starkey
Mr. Adum and I met with Professor William Oduro, one of Ghana’s first amphibian biologists and Chairman of SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana. Meeting Mr. Oduro was quite an honor as he has greatly improved conservation efforts in Ghana.
After such a great meeting, it’s time to grab some lunch! Traveling to a foreign country is a considerable change and can be quite challenging to make the adjustment. Especially if the change is affecting your diet. If you didn’t know already, I am vegan. This means that I do not eat meat, eggs, or dairy. I knew with such a specific diet that it would be difficult to find food in Ghana.
Actually, it hasn’t been that bad at all! Many vegans do not want to make their hosts uncomfortable when being offered food, but all you need to do is explain the situation. After a short discussion with my hosts and servers, I was able to secure myself some delicious food and it was purely vegan. Pictured above is a plate of stewed beans and fried plantains. I have also been eating yams, squash, and other spicy meals. Also, when it doubt there is plenty of bread and fruit to eat. Today I scored my first bunch of bananas at a local market and I cannot wait to consume them upon returning home. In short, being vegan in Africa isn’t necessarily easy, but it is possible. I will post more on this topic in the future.
Thirsty with your meal? Try a bag of water.
Many restaurants around the world serve you water with your food, but in Ghana the water quality is so poor that even locals do not drink tap water. At restaurants you are often served a bottle or a bag of water. Obviously this has a disastrous effect on the ecosystem as disposal of these bags is not effectively executed. Not sure how plastic harms the environment? Find out here.
Today I finally managed to photograph some herpetofauna: Agama agama!
Agamas are very common and are surprisingly large. This male was about 13-14″ in length and he did not mind posing for the camera. This is a beautiful species of lizards that I have always wanted to see in the wild.
At the end of my day I experienced my first African rains. It stopped everyone from doing everything. It rained so hard that I was stuck in a small shop with many Ghanaians for a long time… but the frogs are definitely happy!
Waiting for the rain to stop…
Tomorrow I travel north to Navrongo in order to educate local communities about the threats of climate change, destructive pesticide use, and the over-harvesting of frogs for food. I will be meeting with tribal leaders, educating school children, investigating amphibian meat markets, and celebrating Navrongo’s Save The Frogs’ Day event! It will be great!
I will be in the area for 5 days and then I return to Kumasi… expect an exciting update!
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