My journey through the Master’s Programme at the ERuDeF University Institute was never easy. Despite challenges I encountered during my course work, I am a proud pioneer leaver of this prestigious Institution. In fact, the Institution has transformed me into an Amphibian Specialist.

After my graduation from the University of Buea with a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) in Environmental Sciences, I volunteered with the Limbe wildlife Centre for six months. Later, I sat for the Mbalmyo Forestry and Wildlife school entrance examination. Unfortunately, my results were not favourable.

It was out of my search for institutions where I could gain professional skills that I came in contact with the ERuDeF University Institute from a staff. I decided to enroll and eventually started lectures. The course work was complimented with numerous field expeditions for professional development in the Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS) and the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary. My first field work was in the THWS for 10 days. The team was made up of 2 ERuDeF staff and one lecturer from Virginia Tech University in USA. During this trip I learnt how to plant camera traps for the survey of primates.

After a successful completion of course work, I carried out field research as a partial requirement for the award of a Master’s degree in Biodiversity and Protected Area Management. My research was title “Baseline Survey of Amphibians on Mount Nlonako, Littoral Region of Cameroon: Case of the Goliath Frog (Conraua goliath).”

This research surpervised by Dr Fokam Eric and Mr Geraud Tasse was quite challenging. Conducting night surveys from 9pm to 3am along large streams on Mt Nlonako was not easy but due to hardwwork and determination, I overcame the challenges and successfully collected data. I was meticulously guided by my supervisors through the data collection phase to the dissertation development phase to final submission of thesis

The defense was successfully and I was awarded an MSc Degree in Biodiversity Conservation and Protected Area Management. At the end of the defense, I was very happy to see that all the time, patience and efforts I put in my studies paid off.

After my training, ERuDeF recruited me as Amphibian Research Coordinator. Through this, I have been able to carry out key activities linked to amphibians conservation like the World Amphibian Day during huge sensitisation campaigns were made for amphibians conservation. I have equally carried out field studies on amphibians species of Mount Nlonako.

I will like to say a big thank you to the Helsinki Zoo for funding my research work, my mentor Madam Bedwin Ngwasina and my supervisors. My parents, for their moral support; and the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) for giving me the opportunity to put in practice the skills I acquire during my course work.

Grace Niba

Holder of MSc. in Biodiversity Conservation and Protected Area Management from the ERuDeF University Institute of Biodiversity and Non-Profit Studies