At the risk of developing a ‘save the animals’ theme, and despite saying last week that moving species around may not be a good idea, I’m now advocating the adoption of frogs by zoos, aquaria and botanic gardens. This is, however, to promote an ex situ conservation programme to slow amphibian extinction in the crisis we’re now facing.
A news report on the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) website outlines the current threat to a third of the world’s 6000 species of amphibians by a killer fungus. Up to 170 species of frogs have become extinct in the past decade due to Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. It has a parasite-like action and causes damage to the keratin layer of the frog’s skin, making it difficult for them to use their pores, and quickly leading to death by dehydration. Symptoms in the terminal stages include a generally depressed attitude, half-crossed eyes and an accumulation of cast-off skin.
The conservation programme is being run by Amphibian Ark and if you have access to CAB Direct, you can find out more about amphibian decline, diseases of wildlife and biodiversity loss, or you can read more about the amphibian crisis here.