Amphibian conservation in Mauritania
Only eleven species of amphibians (all anurans) have been found in Mauritania so far. Nonetheless, large areas of the country remain unexplored and the taxonomic status of several species remains uncertain, sug-gesting that additional species may be found in the future, especially in the Sahel savannahs of the southern part of the country. Within the Saharan realm, amphibians occur in isolated springs, “wadis” (temporary streams), and “gueltas” (ponds) in montane regions (Adrar and Tagant plateaus), while the Sahel savannahs contain innumerable bodies of water where all species listed in the country have been recorded despite only a small portion of the area having been sampled. No information on population trends is available, but the Sahel is threatened by intensive wood harvesting, agro-pastoral utilization, and uncontrolled use of pesticides. Mountain populations in the Sahara are isolated and likely small, with high vulnerability to drought and global warming. Priority research needs include: (1) data on distribution and diversity for action by local con-servation agencies; (2) determination of environmental change and the effect of population dynamics on genetic diversity and local populations; and (3) clarification of the taxonomic status of existing populations and the identification of reservoirs of genetic diversity.