Forest clearance began on São Tomé in the late 15th century, when early colonisers made space for the cultivation of sugar cane. In the 1800s the rate of deforestation accelerated dramatically, first with the production of coffee and later with cocoa. At one stage in the early 20th century, São Tomé was the world’s largest producer of cocoa, with an estimated 42 percent of the island being devoted to its production. The crash in the price of cocoa, and the island’s conversion to independence in 1975, significantly slowed down the rate of forest clearance, but not before almost all the island’s lowland primary forest had been destroyed (9).
Since the São Tomé giant treefrog is so notoriously difficult to find, very little is known about its population status or the threats it faces, but habitat loss is likely to continue to have the biggest impact on this species (1). This species also seems to be occasionally offered in the pet trade in Europe, although the extent to which this occurs and impacts the population is unknown (3).