The Kihansi spray toad is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which means that international trade in this species is strictly prohibited (4). Unfortunately, the Kihansi spray toad is not known from any protected areas (1), but thankfully fears that the toad might go extinct spurred the Tanzanian government and the Wildlife Conservation Society into collecting 499 individuals in 2000 for a captive breeding programme (2). There is currently ongoing work at Toledo Zoo, Ohio, and the Bronx Zoo, New York, to breed this rare species (1) (3). Although several husbandry issues were initially encountered, including nutritional deficiencies and diseases, these have since been addressed and the breeding programme is progressing well (1) (2), with more than 6,000 captive individuals raised by 2012 (7).
In an attempt to save the dwindling wild population of Kihansi spray toads, a special sprinkler system was developed and deployed during 2000 and 2001 at three wetland meadows to try and mimic the natural mists previously produced by the rapid waterfalls (1) (3).
Other conservation measures put into place included implementing various field studies, such as assessments of the Kihansi spray toad’s diet, studying the microclimate and vegetation of the gorge, screening toads for the chytrid fungus, and constructing bridges and walkways within the toad’s habitat to prevent trampling damage. Work was also undertaken to establish the required water flow levels in the gorge. All of these measures provided invaluable data for the long-term conservation of the Kihansi spray toad (3).
In 2012, 2,500 Kihansi spray toads were flown from captive breeding facilities in the USA to Tanzania, where some individuals were released into the wild after a period of acclimatisation. More releases are expected in the future (7).