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Frantic attempt to save crucial frog species

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posted on Apr, 10 2012 @ 03:27 PM
This is an environmental issue that matters even more than most, as becomes apparent as you read the article:

Frogs matter - they play a vital role in the food chain, and some have been found to produce chemicals that cure human diseases. But a fungus dubbed "the amphibian smallpox" is making many species extinct. So scientists are mounting a rescue operation.

It's the middle of the night in the rainforests of central Panama...

...Frogs around the world are in decline. In recent years, scientists have documented frog population decreases of up to 80% in some areas.

Habitat loss, climate change and pollution, are all playing a role in the disappearances.

Another culprit is "chytrid" - a virulent fungal disease, thought to have originated in Africa, that's spreading around the globe...

...When they do find frogs, they pack them into plastic bags and "medevac" them out of the forest like injured soldiers...

...The pods hold the very last of some frog species.

"We call them arks," Estrada says, "amphibian arks, because we're basically keeping these frogs alive for future generations."

It's a desperate effort, as the scientists race to keep ahead of the onward march of the disease...

..."There's a species in Australia that produces a chemical called caerin, which blocks HIV transmission to T-cells," he says. "The skin of another species has produced compounds that have been shown to kill 'superbugs' in hospitals. The untapped resources of our amphibian biodiversity are virtually unknown," he adds.

But there's another important reason for the frog rescue.

Gratwicke quotes a legendary American ecologist called Aldo Leopold: "'To keep every cog and wheel is the first rule of intelligent tinkering.'" In this case, he says, amphibians are more than just the cogs and wheels. They are the entire middle of the food chain. "They eat the bugs and are then eaten by snakes and birds and other things. So we want to make sure we look after them."

The species now being sheltered in Panama cannot return to the wild to continue their vital ecological role without some kind of solution to the fungus problem, as once the fungus arrives it stays.

...At the Summit Zoo in Gamboa (Panama), researcher Angie Estrada has had a breakthrough in her efforts to save at least one endangered species... She says the fungus is expected to arrive there in a year or two, and that 90% of the species there will die as a result...

Full article

It really is inspiring when people not only recognise such a crisis, but respond in such an organised way. Let's hope the people on the ground see the rewards for their dedication in the form of the reestablishment of frog populations that have been decimated in so many areas.

Definitely one to watch.

edit on 10/4/12 by pause4thought because: code fixed

posted on Apr, 10 2012 @ 07:09 PM
The frog population in Britain is also in trouble -

It's called ranavirus or red leg disease and some experts fear it could wipe out 80% of frog population. It causes the poor creatures to bleed to death.

I've always loved creepy crawlies and the bottom of my garden is designed to be an amphibian paradise with two ponds, a bog garden, rotting wood pile and rockery. No sign of this horrible condition yet.

posted on Apr, 12 2012 @ 08:29 PM
Bumping this thread in hopes it gets the attention it deserves. Ribbit.

posted on Apr, 12 2012 @ 08:49 PM

its an epidemic threatening sooo many species

and the following government research article indicates the hypervirulence is caused by globalized recombinant lineage, such as international transport for the reptile pet trade industry.

We postulate that contact between previously genetically isolated allopatric populations of Bd may have allowed recombination to occur, resulting in the generation, spread, and invasion of the hypervirulent BdGPL leading to contemporary disease-driven losses in amphibian biodiversity.

posted on Apr, 12 2012 @ 08:55 PM

What is the Frog & Toad Survey?

Michigan is home to 13 native species of anurans (frogs and toads). There is concern about apparent declines and other population changes of several of these species. The Michigan Frog and Toad Survey was initiated in 1988 to increase our knowledge of anuran abundance and distribution and to monitor populations over the long term.

There is some concern in Michigan regarding some of the 13 species that live here, it doesn't seem isolated and think there is a problem worldwide.

Some types of fish are also in danger, especially along the East Coast of the U.S. and it's rivers and inland lakes.

There is something poisoning our Oceans, Lakes and Waterways.

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