Frogs are in trouble. Around the world their numbers are dropping. Many of Australia’s and New Zealand’s amazing frogs species are under threat. Let’s work together to keep them from disappearing. April 28th is international Save the Frogs Day.
Earth is witnessing an amphibian extinction crisis, with at least half of the world’s 6,600 amphibian species under threat. This is an extinction crisis to dwarf all others: 12 percent of bird species are threatened, and 23 percent of mammal species are threatened.
We need to take action to save our frogs from extinction. Save the Frogs Day is the world’s largest day of amphibian education and conservation action. Now in its third year, the day aims to encourage the appreciation and celebration of amphibians by people from all walks of life.
Addressing the amphibian extinction crisis
represents the greatest species conservation
challenge in the history of humanity.
In 2011, to mark the day in Australia, a presentation on The Wild World of Frogs was held at the University of Queensland. Two events were held in New Zealand: Hamilton Zoo raised awareness and took tours of its frogs; and there was a ‘Save the Frogs Search’ at the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier.
We have some amazing frogs in Australasia. Australia’s many wonderful frog species have adapted to every habitat on the continent, from the wettest rainforests to the driest deserts. Some of Australia’s most amazing frogs have disappeared in our lifetime – the Gastric Brooding Frog, for example, which raised its tadpoles in its stomach, became extinct in the ‘70s or ‘80s.
New Zealand has just four native frog species, but they are very special and ancient thanks to the land mass having split off so early from Gondwana. New Zealand’s native frogs are ‘evolutionarily ancient’, little changed from the frogs that hopped around 200 million years ago. They are silent (and so don’t have ears) and are poor jumpers – when they leap, they ‘belly flop’ instead of landing on their legs! The uniqueness of New Zealand’s frogs makes their conservation all the more important. One of New Zealand’s natives – Archey’s frog – is ranked top of the Zoological Society of London’s EDGE measure, which weighs up a species’ endangered status with its uniqueness. It is a very important little animal indeed.
NZ Frogs is coordinated by Dr Phil Bishop from the University of Otago. If you get a chance, make time to watch Phil’s 6-part ‘webinar’ hosted by Save the Frogs. It is a very informative and easy to follow seminar.
The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the USA also made a fantastic documentary, the Thin Green Line, on the plight of amphibians. Sadly, PBS documentaries can’t be viewed outside the US. But there is a very good ‘making of’ video viewable on YouTube:
Animal Rights Hub Australasia