April 28th is Save the Frogs Day. Why do frogs need saving? Well, you may not know this (although you might if you’d read our previous Frog Blog), but frogs are currently undergoing what scientists believe to be a mass extinction. All over the world, amphibian populations are falling at an alarming rate, and Save the Frog Day was created to raise awareness of this important issue.
Many factors are believed to be harming frog numbers worldwide, including diseases, pollution, pesticide use, habitat destruction, climate change and more. Scientists believe that amphibians are going extinct at a rate of over 200 times higher than the rate of all animals around the world. It’s believed that almost a third of amphibian species are currently facing extinction.
So what happens if the frogs go away? Well, frogs and other amphibians affect our biodiversity and ecosystems in many ways. They are an important part of the food chain at every step of their life cycle. Tadpoles (frog larvae) feed on algae, which helps keep water clean. Grown frogs eat insects including mosquitoes, which can spread disease amongst humans. Frogs also provide food for many other animals – snakes, birds, fish and other creatures depend on frogs as a food source, so any major shakeup to the frog population will have ripples that negatively affect other animals.
|American Bullfrog||Flying Tree Frog|
Frogs are also just plain cool! They’re extra good jumpers, and some species can even glide from tree to tree with special flaps on their arms and legs. Many frogs are beautiful, brightly colored creatures, but even “normal” frogs like the American Bullfrog are remarkable animals! It’s important to keep them around, just as it’s important to ensure the survival of all the wonderful species of the planet.
Tragically, for some frogs, it’s already too late. A Costa Rican species known as the Golden Toad went extinct in 1989, and its disappearance brought worldwide attention to the problems facing amphibians. It’s far from the only species to have disappeared within the last 30 years though. But thankfully, all is not lost! Some species believed to be extinct have recently been rediscovered, including two types of Harlequin Frog from Ecuador. Unfortunately, while their existence is a relief, they are still in danger of disappearing due to their low population numbers.
|Red-Eyed Tree Frogs||Poison Dart Frogs|
So what can we do? Well, several organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund, the Amphibian Survival Alliance and the Amphibian Conservation Alliance are working hard to protect amphibians. A group called the Amphibian Ark was created when many organizations decided to combine their efforts for the cause of saving threatened amphibians. These groups are devoted to saving frogs, and they need all the help they can get. It also helps to spread the word and raise awareness, which is why Save the Frogs Day is important. Go out there and tell the world – it’s time to save the frogs!