This species is known from the mountains of eastern Nigeria and western Cameroon at 900-1,800 m asl. In Nigeria, it has been recorded from the Obudu Plateau, and in Cameroon it is known from Mount Manengouba, Mount Ngokham, the Bafut-Ngemba Forest Reserve, Batie, and Fongo-Tongo. At Mwakoumel on Mount Manengouba, it co-exists with C. melanogaster and C. venusta. Using its range as a proxy, the extent of occurrence (EOO) is 4,659 km²
Habitat and Ecology
The species lives in submontane and montane forest along fast-flowing streams and also at high elevations along forest edges. It can survive some levels of deforestation and breeds in streams.
The species is known to be common in the breeding season. It was seen on Mount Manengouba in 2012, but was harder to find compared to the same sites in 2010 (M. Hirschfeld pers. comm. June 2012). As with other high-elevation amphibians endemic to West and Central Africa, its population is severely fragmented because the species' dispersal ability is considered to be very limited; its habitat is being gradually fragmented by human activities and these fragments are separated by large extents of unsuitable habitat (further restricting its dispersal ability); and over half the population is estimated to occur in fragmented habitat patches.
The major threat to Cardioglossa pulchra is increasing habitat loss as a result of agricultural encroachment--including plantations of tree crops--expanding human settlements and removal of wood by local people for firewood and building materials.
On Mount Manengouba, trampling by livestock in the forest is a threat to this species and degrades its habitat; the use of herbicides and pesticides here is suspected to have long-term effects on the stream habitat, affecting the larval stage, and this threat is expected to increase as human activity in the area increases (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. June 2012). Deforestation on Mount Manengouba also occurs due to the unsustainable collection of bark from Prunus africanus—a high-elevation tree endemic to the Cameroon highlands—by the method of tree ringing. The tree's bark is used in small amounts for medicinal purposes by local people. However, it is also sold to pharmaceutical companies in large amounts, in which case all the bark is removed from the individual trees, resulting in their death. The consequence of the latter practice changes the microclimate required for the species' survival (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. May 2012). Furthermore, as with other high-elevation species, the species' habitat may be affected by climate change (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. May 2012), although this necessitates further research.
It is found in the Bafut-Ngemba Forest Reserve in Cameroon and the Cross River National Park in Nigeria. Continued protection of these areas, and further habitat protection of the remaining highland forests in Nigeria and in Cameroon, particularly Mount Manengouba, which has been proposed as a protected area (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. June 2012), is urgently needed. On Mount Manengouba, the harvesting of Prunus africanus should be sustainably managed, including education of the local people (N. Gonwouo pers. comm. May 2012).
Red List Status
Records of this species from Tchabal Mbabo refer to Cardioglossa alsco.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, 2015. Cardioglossa pulchra. In: IUCN 2014