Population monitoring of the long lost and thought extinct Tandayapa Andean Toad in Northwest Equador.
Ryan Lynch Third Millennium Alliance
Our team has spent the past couple of months compiling all known population data for the Tandayapa Andean Toad (Rhaebo olallai) from the Manduriacu Reserve and testing the SM4 Song Meter settings with the Configurator tool. With this information we have narrowed our site selection for the initial deployment of the Song Meters. At the start of October we will be running a short pilot deployment to train the local park ranger how to use the Song Meters and how to change the batteries and memory cards. Because few audio recordings exist for the species, we will use this initial deployment to determine if it will be possible to narrow the recording time to peak calling hours. During the initial pilot deployment we will leave the Song Meters in the field for one month recording for 15 minutes each hour from dusk to dawn. In the meantime our team will be working with collaborators from Texas State University to learn more about the Kaleidoscope software and the development of recognizers. Once this first pilot deployment is complete we will review the results and determine if any changes to the methodology are needed before the next deployment.
Since our last update our team has successfully deployed four Song Meters in the Manduriacu Reserve, Ecuador, which protects habitat for the only known population of Rhaebo olallai. The Song Meters we're deployed at four specific locations across a 2.2km area within the currently known range of Rhaebo olallai. Once we obtain sufficient audio material for the species we will be moving the recorders to more distant areas where the species has not yet been recorded using visual encounter surveys. After working with the configurator tool we elected to record 20 minutes on the hour each hour between sundown and sunrise. We have recorded the species calling throughout this time frame, so our initial recordings will be used to fine tune our recording schedule before moving the recorders to the new sites. Our next field visit to download the audio files is planned for late March, at which point we will begin our initial review of the data.
Since our last update our team has dedicated much of their attention to running our network of four Song Meters in the Manduriacu Reserve, Ecuador. We have now have been running the Song Meters for eight months in the Reserve and are preparing to move two of the units to more remote sites on the periphery of the Reserve. We unfortunately haven't yet had a chance to dive into the analysis of the data because our team has been dedicating much of their time to fighting new mining threats in the area. Over the past year the Ecuadorian government opened new mining concessions across much of the region where the Manduriacu Reserve is located, so our team is working hard to protect as much habitat for R. olallai and other threatened species found in the Manduriacu Reserve before its too late. The audio data being recorded with our Song Meters will play an important role in documenting the status of R. olallai in the Reserve as mining activities expand across the region.