Sunday, May 16, 2010

Protect the Frogs!

All around the world amphibians are disappearing from the wild and becoming extinct. Already 122 species of amphibians have become extinct since 1980 and 500 more are suspected to follow in the next fifty years. There are several factors involved in the sudden drop in numbers of amphibians; habitats becoming parking lots or destroyed due to dams, their thin skin absorbing pollutants, and what seems to be a major threat in recent years is the parasitic fungus known as amphibian chytrid, which was accidentally spread by African clawed frogs that were shipped worldwide. In attempts to save amphibians are proposing a project known as the “Amphibian Ark,” which is the suggestion of zoos and other suitable institutions to host as many species of amphibians and breed them in captivity until they are able to safely return to their wild habitats. Unfortunately the project requires vast funds which seem to be unavailable because hosting specie and maintaining breeding requires at least 50 wild specimens and is the same price as keeping a single elephant in captivity for one year. Scientists are hoping to raise enough funds this year and have even dedicated this year as the “Year of the Frog.”
Species going extinct is always a big deal to this world, but this epidemic is not talking about just one species it is affecting the entire class of Amphibia. This is very bad news because it is such large scale extinction, though many of the species are not extinct many are no longer found in the wild and returning an entire class to the wild is a difficult, in the least, if not impossible thought yet it is the best ideas we can come up with at this time. People should care to know that amphibians are becoming extinct, because they play a crucial role in their ecosystem. Also, Kevin Zippel, the Ark’s program director, went as far as to say, “We might see what’s in store for us,” which is a very frightening thought to think of as we see their numbers dwindle. Some questions that really need to be answered are; how long does the chytrid last after wiping out the amphibians in the region in three months, Is there any way to immune all amphibians and future generations from chytrid, and how do we plan to put thousands of species into captivity and return them back into the wild? The article attached has important information that affects the natural world and every ecosystem that involves amphibians that should not be taken lightly.
After reading this article I became aware to a horrible epidemic that is striking that I have not heard of yet. It seems that this problem has been going on for several years but few really know about it. I believe everyone should read this article to become informed about a terrible tragedy, the possible extinction or an entire class of animals. Anyone who reads this article would benefit by learning valuable information about amphibian extinction especially anyone who knows they can help.

Saving Kermit
Choi, Charles Q.
Scientific American
Jul 2008
Pg. 27-28

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