Climate Protection Fellow Gilbert Adum from Ghana, who is being funded by the German Environment Ministry, has won one of this year’s Whitley Awards, also known as the ‘Green Oscar’. Princess Anne of the UK Royal Family presented him with the prize worth £35,000 in a ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Adum’s research on the giant squeaker frog (Arthroleptis krokosua), which is native to Ghana and is particularly threatened by climate change, was selected from over 130 other projects. Adum is currently a visiting researcher at Berlin’s Museum für Naturkunde (natural history museum).
In conjunction with the herpetological1 working group, led by Mark-Oliver Rödel at Berlin’s Naturkundemuseum, Gilbert Adum is carrying out intensive fieldwork and conservation measures to protect a population of endangered giant squeaker frogs. His research in Berlin as a Climate Protection Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is being funded by BMUB’s International Climate Initiative (IKI).
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Barbara Hendricks, German Environment Minister, expressed her praise as follows: ‘I am absolutely delighted that one of the Humboldt Climate Protection Fellows has received this prestigious award. When we launched the Climate Protection Fellowship programme in 2009 we had great hopes of being able to help smooth the way a little for exceptionally talented scientists in developing countries. The long-overdue global structural change towards sustainable development that does not harm the environment or the climate depends crucially on the commitment of people such as Ghana’s Gilbert Adum. I would like to extend my most sincere congratulations and wish him every success with his future research'.
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has been awarding international Climate Protection and Resource Conservation Fellowships, funded by BMUB’s International Climate Initiative, since 2010. Up to 20 fellows are funded each year under this programme. During their one-year stay in Germany they carry out a project on climate change mitigation or resource conservation at a German university or other appropriate institution. The aim is to facilitate an exchange of knowledge, methods and techniques.
Gilbert Adum would like to use this Green Oscar to continue his innovative research and in particular investigate and understand the breeding ecology and conservation needs of this endangered frog species. It is extremely important to him to involve the local population in his work, as he sees them as key to the survival, not only of the giant squeaker frog population but also of other species that share their habitat. As the founder and director of SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana, West Africa’s non-profit amphibian conservation organisation, he is seeking not only to protect the animals but also to help preserve the livelihoods of the local people and train a new generation of amphibian biologists in Ghana.
1 Herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles.