This species is only known from type locality at 560 m Asl on the east flank of Mount Iboundji, Massif du Chaillu, Offoué-Onoy Department, Ogooué-Lolo Province, Gabon. Searches at a second waterfall on Mount Iboundji and at many other waterfalls in Gabon, revealed no further records of this species. However, it is possible that it occurs at other waterfalls, particularly in the Chaillu Massif, although it is likely to be localized to the Massif. It is only known from one threat-defined location and its EOO is 10 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
This species is known only from among rocks at the edge of a plunge pool at the base of a large waterfall in lowland forest. However, it is possible that this is similar to congeners which are leaf litter species and occur only at waterfalls during the breeding season (M.-O. Rödel pers. comm. July 2016). It is presumed to be a larval developer.
Unlike most congeners, which are often locally very abundant, this species appears to be very rare as only two individuals could be located in 20 person-hours of searching. Few herpetological surveys have taken place in this region, and the species has not been seen during surveys that took place in the last 5 or 6 years; therefore it has not been seen since it was originally collected, but this could be due to surveys taking place in the wrong place at the wrong time of year (M.-O. Rödel pers. comm. July 2016). Due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, the population is suspected to be decreasing.
The main threat to the species are the ongoing logging activities in the region, but these have not yet reached the waterfall basin where the species has been recorded. Even if logging occurs nearby, it is likely to modify temperature, humidity, and available food, and so have serious consequences for this species which, like its congeners, is dependent on high humidity.
Mount Iboundji has been proposed as a Biodiversity Sanctuary, due to its botanical and herpetological values, but no protection status has been granted to date.
Protection of forest on the Massif is required.
Further surveys back to the type locality and other likely sites on the Massif are required to improve the understanding of its distribution, population size and trends.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Listed as Critically Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 10 km2, it occurs in a single threat-defined location, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2017. Werneria iboundji. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T61761A96225118. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T61761A96225118.en