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About the Crisis

 

 
Frogs and other amphibians around the world are facing an extinction crisis rivaling that of the dinosaurs. Golden Toads in the cloud forests of Costa Rica disappeared as their breeding habitat dried up in an increasingly warm and dry climate.  Entire populations of clownish harlequin frogs have vanished, one by one, from their tropical streams as a deadly fungus marched across the landscape.  Streams and forests that once held hundreds of peeping, croaking frog voices are now silent. 

Stories such as these began making headlines in the 1980’s and since then have become alarmingly common.  Amphibians are disappearing – not just in tropical jungles but in deserts and woodlands and ponds around the world.  Amphibians, which include frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians, serve many vital functions in the ecosystems in which they live. Their disappearance is happening so fast and at such a grand scale that it has prompted a global conservation movement like no other in history. The recent Global Amphibian Assessment estimates that at least one third of all amphibian species around the globe are threatened with extinction in the immediate future unless something is done to protect them.

Year of the Frog

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has joined with the World Conservation Union’s Species Survival Commission (IUCN/SSC) to create the Amphibian Ark (AArk), declaring 2008 the “Year of the Frog”.  The goal - to save the 500 most endangered amphibian species from disappearing forever.  

The Cause

Frogs and toads are falling victim to acid rain, global warming, invasive species, and habitat loss. Recently, the deadly “chytrid fungus” (fungal disease chytridiomycosis) has  spread around the world, devastating amphibian populations in its wake. As a result, many amphibian populations are in immediate danger of extinction unless urgent action is taken to prevent it.

The Solution

The amphibian crisis is particularly severe in the Latin American and Caribbean regions, and rescue facilities are needed as soon as possible to save endangered species. Unfortunately, many of the existing institutions in these regions lack adequate funds to establish such programs despite possessing the interest and technical expertise to develop them. In short, they need our help! Read on to find out how you can help an institution to develop a breeding facility to save a species! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 © Piotr Naskrecki

 

Global distribution of threatened amphibians.

    Global distribution of threatened amphibians

Check out these short videos about amphibians and the threats they face:

Leap of Faith (Focus on Panama and the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center - Requires Quicktime)

Chanting and Enchanting Animals Ch. 1 (Overview, filmed in Ecuador)

Chanting and Enchanting Animals Ch. 2 (Life cycle: Mating to Metamorphosis)

Chanting and Enchanting Animals Ch. 3 (Adaptations)

Chanting and Enchanting Animals Ch. 4 (Diversity, focus on species of Ecuador)

Chanting and Enchanting Animals Ch. 5 (Value/Services)

Chanting and Enchanting Animals Ch. 6 (Threats and Solutions)