Frogs: Freshwater Species of the Week

Frogs are charismatic, but they are in a lot of trouble around the world. Photo: Brian Gratwicke, Flickr Creative Commons

 

Have you kissed a frog lately?

If not, now’s the time, because Saturday, April 28, is the 4th Annual Save The Frogs Day. Coordinated by SAVE THE FROGS!, a California-based nonprofit dedicated to amphibian conservation, boosters hope this year’s event will be the biggest day of action for the embattled creatures to date.

At least 180 frog-appreciating events are scheduled in 37 countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Bangladesh, Ghana, Malaysia, Mexico, and Pakistan. According to SAVE THE FROGS!, the goal is to raise awareness of the rapid disappearance of frog species worldwide.

Frogs face many threats, and they are often considered indicators of the health of freshwater ecosystems, because they are highly sensitive to pollution, loss of water, and habitat degradation. Frogs are being assaulted by invasive species, overharvesting for food and the pet trade, and climate change. Infectious diseases have extracted a heavy toll, possibly made worse by changing environments, which may weaken frogs’ natural defenses.

About one-third of the world’s amphibian species are threatened with extinction, and some 200 species have already been lost in recent years.

Photo: A tree frog calling for a mate.
A male tree frog calls to a mate. Photo: Brian Gratwicke, Flickr Creative Commons

 

Kerry Kriger, founder and executive director of SAVE THE FROGS!, said in a statement, “Frogs eat mosquitoes, provide us with medical advances, serve as food for birds, fish and monkeys, and their tadpoles filter our drinking water. There are lots of reasons to save them.”

Kriger will be leading a 5K race in honor of frogs in Seattle tomorrow. Other events planned for the day include a protest against the serving of frogs’ legs at Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island, New York.  In San Francisco, frog lovers plan to protest a city project that they say is pumping dry a rare coastal wetland in order to turn it into a golf course, thereby killing endangered California red-legged frogs.

Meanwhile, Brazil, India, Colombia, Malaysia, and Australia will host frog art and photo exhibits. Scientific conferences on frog conservation are planned in Ghana, Bangladesh, and Mexico.

Save The Frogs Day has been officially recognized by several state and local governments.

What will you do to help save a frog?

Photo: Frog
Frogs come in different shapes, sizes and colors. Photo: Brian Gratwicke, Flickr Creative Commons
Photo: Tree frog on branch
Classic frog image. Photo: Brian Gratwicke, Flickr Creative Commons

 

Thanks to Brian Gratwicke, a conservation biologist, for making his great photos available for use.

 

Brian Clark Howard is a writer and editor with NationalGeographic.com. He was formerly an editor at The Daily Green and E/The Environmental Magazine and has contributed to many publications, including TheAtlantic.com, FastCompany.com, MailOnline.com, PopularMechanics.com, Yahoo!, MSN and elsewhere. His latest book, with Kevin Shea, is Build Your Own Small Wind Power System.

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