Most visitors to this blog will already be aware of a well-known ecological crisis — the very real possibility that one-third to one-half of all 6,000 amphibian species on earth will become extinct in our lifetime.

The Amphibian Ark (AArk) is a joint effort of three principal partners: the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), the IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG), and the IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG). We were formed to address the ex situ components of the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan.

Our vision is the world’s amphibians safe in nature, and our mission is ensuring the global survival of amphibians, focusing on those that cannot currently be safeguarded in nature.
 
We coordinate ex situ programs implemented by partners around the world, with the first emphasis on programs within the range countries of the species, and with a constant attention to our obligation to couple ex situ conservation measures with necessary efforts to protect or restore species in their natural habitats.

This blog was developed by Jeff Davis (aka pleasecroak) from St Louis, and in mid-2009, it was handed over to the AArk staff to continue its success.

kevfrogAArk’s Program Director, Kevin Zippel coordinates all aspects of implementation within the Amphibian Ark initiative to fulfill the mandate for ex situ components of the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan. He works with and oversees the team of AArk officers.

Ron GagliardoRon Gagliardo joined the AArk team in 2008, in the role of Training Officer and he is based at Atlanta Zoo in the US. In this position he leads development and implementation of training programs for building capacity of individuals and institutions to conduct successful ex situ conservation programs for amphibian species.

kevin JIn his role as Taxon Officer and Communications & Development Officer, Kevin Johnson assists AArk partners in identifying priority taxa and regions for ex situ conservation work and helping to coordinate among Taxon Management Groups. Kevin is based in Sydney, Australia and is also responsible for the AArk web site, newsletter and other communications.

33 Responses to “The Amphibian Ark’s Frog Blog”

  1. Leslie Ulrich Says:

    Jeffrey,
    good for you. I love it. thanks for bringing this important frog matter to my attention. I am with you.
    Leslie

  2. Chelsea Davis Says:

    Keep it up dad!

  3. scrappyliltagger Says:

    Thanks for leaving a comment. I just saw Jeff Corwin on Ellen a few minutes ago talking about this! I will certainly highlight it on my blog.

  4. Catty Says:

    Hey, I was wondering if there’s anything people can do aside from blogging and write checks.

    some of my fondest memories involve the time I spent watching amphibians and reptiles- especially frogs. I’d love to see a blog about what the average joe/joette can do, and also a list of other organizations working with amphibian ark that maybe needs support as well.

  5. Beth Ward Francesconi Says:

    If Jeff Davis supports frogs then I do too. Those slimy webbed amphibians couldn’t have a funnier or more creative guy on their side. He will do more for them then Kermit.

  6. pleasecroak Says:

    More than Kermit? Beth, you have jinxed us!!! Thanks for dropping in to say hello.


  7. Hi there,

    TAXI Vancouver, an advertising and design agency based in Vancouver, Canada, has just completed a new communication campaign for the Vancouver Aquarium. Due to the popularity of your site, we are hoping that you would help us get the important message of frog distinction out to the general public.

    We are asking you to dedicate a blog post to Frogster – an interactive game that aims to raise awareness of the world’s current frog crisis. The game can be played at:

    http://www.vanaqua.org/home/frogster.html

    Thanks in advance for your consideration.

  8. Uncle Frog Says:

    Definitely! And kudos. Any effort to advance the amphibian agenda is a ribbiting effort indeed. I knew about National Frog Day, but I had no idea we got our own year this year! That makes me hopping happy. Perhaps more folks will become even more froggy-enlightened. Croak on, Froggy Soldiers! Croak on, I say!

  9. Jude Says:

    Wow, a frog blog. I’m 53 and live in Colorado. When I was a kid, our yard was filled with toads and frogs. By the time I turned 17, they were gone. I’ve seen two toads in the last ten years (not that I hang out at ponds all that much). I’ve been worried about amphibians for decades. I’m glad I found your blog.

  10. Julie Savage Says:

    Hey! We need frog lovers everywhere to vote online for my son’s invention THE RECYCLE FROG. He is a national finalist in the Weather Channel’s Going Green contest. Click here and please ask your readers to put in a vote for JOHN and THE FROG!

    http://www.bkfk.com/Modules/Ideation/going_green_poll.aspx


  11. This video was featured on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation — CBC National News, tonight:

    Amphibian Extinction
    June 17, 2008 (Runs 12:20)
    Frogs. Toads. Salamanders. They’re dying off at alarming rates, and Canadian researchers are racing to save them and the secrets they hold…
    play video
    http://www.cbc.ca/national/blog/video/environmentscience/amphibian_extinction.html


  12. This was on CBC National News, recently:. You can watch the video here!
    http://www.cbc.ca/national/blog/video/environmentscience/amphibian_extinction.html
    Amphibian Extinction
    June 17, 2008 (Runs 12:20)
    Frogs. Toads. Salamanders. They’re dying off at alarming rates, and Canadian researchers are racing to save them and the secrets they hold
    play video
    ________________________________

  13. Monica Says:

    A couple months back, you helped me publish a petition to save Red-legged Frog habitat. I am saddened to say, the petition failed to move District of North Vancouver’s Mayor and Council. We lost bigtime.

    DNV passed the Mountain Bike Trails Plan, lock, stock and barrel, totally disregarding the species at risk, Red-Legged Frog habitat. They have given the North Shore temperate rain forest to become a sprawling amusement park for extreme free ride and downhill mountain biking.

    This has been the District of North Vancouver’s contribution to the massive efforts to save amphibian habitat around the world. Save the trails? Or save a species at risk amphibian habitat. On July 7th, DNV Mayor and Council made an unanimous choice to cater to the mountain bikers and “save their trails”. This is the same municipality that would like the world to see them as environmental leaders. It was a long fight for conservation that, sadly, failed in this case.

    Thanks for your help, Jeff. We collected 340 signatures in total, on and “off” line.
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/31/help-save-the-red-legged-frog
    is now closed.

  14. Eileen Fay Says:

    Dear Jeff,

    This is a beautiful, heartfelt blog and a very important cause.

    I am writing an article for The Binocular, the quarterly newsletter of a non-profit, grassroots animal welfare group called Wildlife Watch (www.wildwatch.org). May I have your permission to quote your short paragraph on the home page, the one that starts with the canary in the coal mine bit and says that frogs will only disappear if we allow them to? I would give you name credit and the website of frog matters if you allow me.

    I will send you the draft of my article if you write me at the e-mail address I gave above. My deadline is this week.

    In any case, thank you for your kind, caring heart and mind. Yay for frogs!
    Eileen

  15. Dale Says:

    Does anybody know about the habitats that have been set up in Arizona to encourage the return of the Tarahumara frog (Rana tarahumarae)? I’m wondering what the populations are at now? I support awareness and protection of frogs/amphibians through the sale of bamboo/organic cotton t-shirts that have beautiful artwork of the Red Eyed Tree Frog. 10% of sales go to World Wildlife Fund’s endangered species program. Go to: http://www.amazingteesUS.com

  16. Laura Guttridge Says:

    I live in Vero Beach Fl. Since 1990 a nearby town called Fellsmere has an annual festival called The Fellsmere Frogleg Festival. In it’s early years they boasted of killing up to 100,000 frogs from our local Fl. marshes. (They are eaten at the festival.) Today, they have depleted our Fl. marshes so severly that they have to resort to ordering their frog legs frozen from Asia. Each year I gather a few friends to protest this disturbing event.I write letters to the editor of our local paper also. My goal is for them to stop killing our frogs in the future,(when the frog population replenishes.)
    Killing tens of thousands of frogs for this event is truly horrible, and it needs to stop.

    1. pleasecroak Says:

      I hadn’t heard of this. Thanks for letting us know about it.


  17. Hi Jeff,

    Hoping that you’re going to be croaking from this blog well into 2009 and beyond. I’m putting a link to it into some schools resources I’m developing.

    All the best!

    Elspeth

    1. pleasecroak Says:

      Thanks, Elspeth. Yes, we’ll keep this going. Thanks for your support.

  18. catsongs Says:

    Love your blog! Will croak. Often and LOUDLY! Cheers, Cat


  19. My name is Andrew Williums and I’ve been caring for Tree Frogs for over 10 years. In that time, I’ve gained a huge amount of knowledge on this exact subject. As a Tree Frog enthusiast, it is my goal to see that all pet Tree Frog are properly cared for, so I’d like to share my knowledge with you, free of charge.

  20. Glenn Hansen Says:

    I just viewed a program on PBS regarding the spread of Chytrid fungus and the dwindling frog population around the globe. Further reading indicates that once infected a pond, etc. can remain infected indefinitely.

    The progress of the infection in the western hemisphere seems remarkably parallel to that of migrating birds.

    Has it been examined whether the fungus can survive in the digestive system of birds and thus be redeposited in new, previously unaffected areas?

    The pattern of infestation seems to jump between head water pools and not only to down stream locations. Similarly, other infestations seem to jump from one area to another but not necessarily to adjacent locations. This pattern might suggest a non-land based form of transmission.

    None of the literature that I’ve seen would seem to show that transmission by migrating birds has been investigated.

    1. pleasecroak Says:

      I have read a lot about chytrid but never anything about birds carrying it, although it seems plausible. But here’s what is the conventional wisdom from scientists on how it spread: http://frogmatters.wordpress.com/2007/09/16/the-pregnancy-test-that-birthed-a-global-epidemic/

    2. pleasecroak Says:

      Glenn got a much better answer about birds carrying chytrid in an email from Kevin Zippel, program director of Amphibian Ark. I was copied on that email, and am pasting it below:

      Hi Glenn, thanks for your thoughts. I like the way you think! You might be surprised to learn though that the fungus is surprisingly sensitive to its environment and would not survive passage through a bird. We have speculated about the possibility that it is moved on such vectors as bird feet and feathers, biologists’ boots, etc., but at the end of the day, its rate of progression can be perfectly explained by mere frog-to-frog contact as they interact in their respective home ranges. But thanks for your creative thinking; that is exactly the sort of thing that will someday give us the solutions we seek!

  21. Joe May Says:

    Jeff I found a frog on my farm in Panama and was wondering if you, or one of the readers could help me identify it. You can see a photo of it here… http://www.pactfamily.com/img/frog2.jpg
    Thanks for you time
    Joe

    1. pleasecroak Says:

      And the answer is (drum roll….) Dendrobates auratus, green and black dart poison frog. Special thanks to Kevin Zippel from Amphibian Ark for answering this.


  22. Hi Jeff,

    Anyone saving frogs is on the top list of my personal book. I’ll give exposure to your blog on my web site and magazine in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I thought you might appreciate my reflection on frogs:

    http://www.animalsvoice.com/moretti/lessons.html

    Laura

    1. pleasecroak Says:

      It’s a lovely reflection, Laura. Thanks for letting us know about it.


  23. Hi – you might be interested in participating in a new blog carnival called House of Herps that is devoted exclusively to reptiles and amphibians. The first issue will come out on Dec 18th, I’m sure the admins would love to have one of your posts included in that issue.
    regards–ted

    1. kevinj003 Says:

      Thanks Ted, We’ll surely contact the House of Herps admins and submit something for the frist blog.

      Best wishes,

      Kevin

  24. Jeff Davis Says:

    Gentlemen, I thought you would find this report from Hawaii interesting. http://bit.ly/7kHF9k The cocqui frog that is so beloved in Puerto Rico is considered a sleep stealer and menace in Hawaii. And eradication is under way. There is a line in the story, “One year without noise means no frogs,” that is the exact opposite sentiment from Silent Spring. What a strange trip we are all in!

  25. Tina Says:

    Great news about a once thought extinct frog that hasn’t been seen for 30yrs in Australia…

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/bell-frog-thought-to-be-on-last-legs-spotted-alive-and-kicking-20100304-plsc.html

  26. Devi Says:

    Hi, I have a tiny frog in my garden that I would like to identify. he/she has a very interesting history having travelled with us all the way from Wayanad to Karnataka. Please let me know where I can send a picture for Id.
    Thanks.

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