TBA alumnus, Gilbert Adum, is a winner of this year’s prestigious Whitley Awards for his pioneering work in amphibian conservation in his home country of Ghana.
Gilbert is one of six winners, selected from 127 applicants from 53 countries, who receive £35,000 project funding to support their work in the coming year.
Since attending the TBA field course in Amani, Tanzania in 2010, Gilbert has been a passionate advocate of the impact of TBA capacity building on inspiring and supporting young conservationists, like himself: “Quite simply, I am where I am because of TBA.” he says.
During a whirlwind week in London, where Whitley Fund for Nature Patron HRH Princess Anne presented the awards, Gilbert and fellow finalists met with NGOs and the press, strengthening networks and raising awareness of their work.
Gilbert – who introduces himself with a big smile as Mr Frog Man – has turned around the prospects of Ghana’s giant squeaker frog, feared extinct just a decade ago. Having rediscovered a small population in Ghana’s Sui River Reserve, Gilbert and his team set up Save the Frogs Ghana – the first organisation dedicated to amphibian conservation in West Africa.
Habitat loss – from illegal resource extraction, agricultural encroachment and invasive alien plants – is the biggest threat to the squeaker frog. Working with colleagues at Save the Frogs Ghana, Gilbert has made forest restoration a priority. They have already launched a national outreach programme to raise awareness, cleared huge tracts of invasive species and replanted 10,000 native tree species.
The squeaker frog is not the only beneficiary of these efforts. Other species, such as the western chimpanzee has benefitted from the forest restoration. With the Whitley award, Gilbert will continue to build on this success, helping communities to develop sustainable livelihoods, influencing policy and inspiring young leaders.