Save the frogs!

The amphibian extinction crisis is the greatest species conservation challenge in the history of humanity. Save the Frogs day is on 29 April. To mark this important day I have written up a short piece on my animal rights blog, Animal Rights Hub Australasia: Save the frogs day 2011.

We have some amazing frogs in Australasia. Australia’s many wonderful frog species have adapted to every habitat on the continent, from the wettest rainforests to the driest deserts. Some of Australia’s most amazing frogs have disappeared in our lifetime – the Gastric Brooding Frog, for example, which raised its tadpoles in its stomach, became extinct some time in the ‘70s or ‘80s.

New Zealand has just four native frog species, but they are very special and ancient thanks to the land mass having split off so early from Gondwana. New Zealand’s native frogs are ‘evolutionarily ancient’, little changed from the frogs that hopped around 200 million years ago. They are silent (and so don’t have ears) and are poor jumpers – when they leap, they ‘belly flop’ instead of landing on their legs! The uniqueness of New Zealand’s frogs makes their conservation all the more important. One of New Zealand’s natives – Archey’s frog – is ranked top of the Zoological Society of London’s EDGE measure, which weighs up a species’ endangered status with its uniqueness. It is a very important little animal indeed.

If you do nothing else, watch the video below (7 minutes), which describes the making of a PBS documentary on frogs.

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