Friday, November 21, 2008

please help save the frogs

Because football has apparently taken over Thursday nights now, on top of Sunday and Monday nights, I was only able to catch the first quarter of The Animal Planet documentary, The Vanishing Frog. I learned enough in that short time, however, to understand the threats facing our planet's amphibian population. Here are some facts:

Since the 1980s, more than 120 species of frogs have gone extinct.

Right now, one-third to one-half of the world's amphibian species are threatened.

For example, a decade ago there were tens of thousands of Southern Mountain Yellow-Legged frogs in the lakes of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Today, less than 200 remain.

Climate change, pollution, the introduction of non-native species, fires, and most recently a deadly chytrid aquatic fungus are the main suspects in the disappearance of the frogs and so many other amphibian species.

Chytrid fungus is currently unstoppable and untreatable in the wild. The World Conservation Union calls it the worst infectious disease ever recorded among vertebrates.

The top five critically endangered frogs are: the Southern Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog, the Panamanian Golden Frog, the Variable Harlequin Frog, the Lehmann's Poison Frog, and the Southern Corroboree Frog (pictured).

Only about 250 Southern Corroboree frogs remain in the wild, 25% of which are expected to vanish in the next three years, quite possibly because of the chytrid aquatic fungus.

I encourage you to check your local listings for The Vanishing Frog or watch the full documentary here on Animal Planet's website. And if you'd like to help, learn more by visiting or click here to purchase a t-shirt or make a donation to Amphibian Arc that supports their global amphibian rescue efforts.

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