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Frogs are disappearing

Last Updated on Monday, 12 March 2012 14:20

save-the-frogsSAVE THE FROGS! is an international team of scientists, educators, policymakers and naturalists dedicated to protecting the world's amphibian species: the frogs, toads, newts, salamanders, and caecilians.

Frogs are going extinct NOW - worldwide - in Australia and locally in our area in South east Queeensland. The rapid loss and disappearance of amphibian populations in recent decades is undoubtedly one of the most tragic losses of biodiversity our society has ever witnessed, and is one of the most serious environmental issues of our time. Loss of biodiversity has far reaching implications.

We can all help by reducing our individual impact on the planet, by sharing our concern with others, and by making our politicians, our representatives in government aware of our concerns.

One very useful action - of benefit to human health as well as other species is to avoid the  use of toxic pesticides. From the forum we  read  that pesticides and herbicides are toxic chemicals that generally undergo little to no testing on amphibians prior to their being approved for use. Unfortunately, the law of gravity has it that many of these pesticides end up in waterways, where amphibians live and breed. To make matters worse, amphibians have permeable skin that is highly absorbent.

 

Atrazine, perhaps the most commonly used herbicide on the planet, can cause hermaphroditism in frogs (males grow female sex organs) at ecologically relevant doses, and can reduce survivorship in salamanders. Roundup is lethal to many frog tadpoles. Roundup is a commonly applied herbicide in Australia; it's produced by Monsanto, the same folks who gave us Agent Orange. Over half of the DNA found in frogs is also found in humans, so if these pesticides kill frogs, imagine what they do to us! Read more about pesticides here: http://savethefrogs.com/threats-to-frogs/pollution-pesticides.html

Amphibians are without a doubt the most endangered group of animals on the planet: nearly 1/3 of the world's 6,485 species are on the brink of extinction. There are six major factors negatively affecting amphibians, and all are due to human activity: habitat destruction, infectious diseases, pollution & pesticides, climate change, invasive species, and over-harvesting for the pet and food trades.Save-The-Frogs-Day-2010-icon

To make matters worse, many of these threats act in concert with one another to create synergistic (magnified) effects. For instance, perhaps exposure to either a particular pesticide or pathogen would not kill affected frogs. However, if the frogs became infected by the chytrid fungus after a pesticide had compromised their ability to mount a sufficient immune response, the population may experience a lethal disease outbreak, and be driven to local extinction. If a significant portion of the species' remaining habitat had already been logged, invaded by introduced species, or had become unusable due to altered rainfall patterns, the species could be on a rapid path toward global extinction.

Unfortunately, though national parks and preserves are an integral part of conserving amphibian populations, they are no longer sufficient in and of themselves, as airborne pollutants, climate change and infectious diseases can easily cross any boundaries.

Save The Frogs Day - April 30th, 2010

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Griffith University Environmental Futures Centre has a Threatened Frog Research Team which is a scientific research team involved in ecological research projects that are relevant to global amphibian declines and threatened frog species in eastern Australia. The team is led by Dr Jean-Marc Hero, Associate Professor at Griffith University, and includes several research associates and a number of postgraduate students. Dr Hero is also on the board of Directors for Save the frogs, a non profit organisation and international team of scientists, educators, policymakers and naturalists dedicated to protecting the world's amphibian species.

Current projects include the Numinbah Valley Frog Project and Threatened Frog Research.

Dr. Kerry Kriger is also on the board.He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Griffith University in Gold Coast, Australia, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. His current research focuses on the amphibian disease chytridiomycosis.

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