Thanks to the CoquiFrogNews blog , I learned that Jeff Corwin’s Animal Planet special on the amphibian crisis can be viewed in its entirety HERE. Mr. Corwin is right up there with Sir David Attenborough in raising awareness of the crisis, and he is a major supporter of Amphibian Ark.
February 23, 2009
November 24, 2008
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Recently on CBS, Jeff Corwin provided yet another thought provoking explanation of the amphibian crisis. He and Clorox teamed up with Animal Planet for a special that premiered last Thursday night.
May 8, 2008
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April 30 /PRNewswire / — While trekking through a remote rainforest in Omar Torrijos National Park in central Panama for the upcoming Animal Planet documentary THE VANISHING FROG, wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin, along with biologists Bill Konstant and Edgardo Griffith of the Houston Zoo, uncovered a small population of a critically endangered frog species that scientists feared had disappeared from the wild. The frogs belong to the genus Atelopus, commonly known as Harlequin frogs. The species in question is Atelopus varius, which is one of two species of golden frogs native to Panama, both of which are on the path to extinction in the wild. The specimens in question were found after an exhaustive search of a remote mountain river where the species was formerly found in great numbers just a few years ago. The specimens discovered on April 6, 2008, included a sub-adult which indicates the species still survives in an area where entire populations of amphibians have been wiped out by a deadly fungus.
THE VANISHING FROG is a joint project of Animal Planet and Clorox, which have joined forces to focus worldwide attention on the deadly fungus which is destroying frogs and other amphibian populations around the world. The film is slated to premiere this fall and sends Corwin on a worldwide mission to uncover clues to the frogs’ deadly plight. The crew was filming work of Amphibian Ark, a global alliance dedicated to saving amphibians that cannot be saved in the wild, at the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center in Panama. The Houston Zoo, along with dozens of other educational institutions, universities, zoos and aquariums in partnership with the AZA, are conducting a last-ditch rescue mission and captive breeding program for Panamanian frogs, toads and salamanders at the Center.
“Some in the scientific community consider this species to be extinct in the wild,” a thrilled Corwin beams. “With this rare discovery, it gives us hope that all is not lost in the battle to save this amphibian and others. But it does urgently underscore the importance of this work and emphasizes how fast and nimble we need to be in drawing attention to this global amphibian crisis.”
“This discovery of additional animals from this population nearing extinction is very significant,” added Dr. Kevin Zippel, program director with Amphibian Ark, a global alliance dedicated to saving amphibians that cannot be saved in the wild. “The golden frogs collected by Jeff and the team will be founders for a captive breeding population. Snatched from the jaws of extinction, these animals and their descendants might someday be used to re-establish golden frogs in Panama, assuming threats in the wild can be mitigated.”
The leading cause of amphibian extinction is habitat destruction, but a deadly fungus known as chytrid has led to a dramatic increase in the rate of extinction especially in Panama, Costa Rica and other Central American countries. Additional factors include climate change, environmental degradation, and unsustainable exploitation of wildlife.
Last fall, Clorox, whose namesake bleach* is used to kill the fungus in captive breeding facilities and disinfect field equipment in the battle to save frogs, became the first corporate sponsor of the “Year of the Frog” and signed on to THE VANISHING FROG project while it was still in development. In addition, Clorox is providing funding to complete the construction of a visitors and education center at the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center.
Animal Planet Media (APM), a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world’s only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment.
May 7, 2008
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Thought you would find this interesting. The blog “SteptoLife: Wael’s Adventures in Panama” ran an English translation of a local media report on Jeff Corwin’s visit to Panama as he was shooting an amphibian documentary (it appears):
Panamá, Friday April 10 2008
Golden frog may escape extinction
“We could be witnessing the greatest extinction since the dinosaurs,” explained Jeff Corwin, host of the popular television show “Animal Planet.” Corwin was in Panama to film the first leg of a research project that will take him South America, Africa and Australia as well.
Corwin is investigating the massive and somewhat sudden extinction of amphibians around the world, specifically frogs, toads, newts and salamanders. Panama has not been spared the disappearance of these sensitive and wonderful creatures. The golden frog, the country’s most well known amphibian, recognized worldwide for its extraordinary beauty, is on the verge of disappearing.
The species has suffered from deforestation and urbanization, but the principal cause of its demise is an aquatic fungus that adheres to its skin, asphyxiating and dehydrating the tiny creature.
The odds of anyone finding the endemic species where Corwin and his knowledgeable guide and colleague, Edgardo Griffith, director of the Centro de Conservación de Anfibios El Níspero, went looking for them, were miniscule. The frog was believed to be extinct in the area.
“A few years ago I was doing a show in the extraordinary region of Darién,” Corwin said, “and we discovered some spectacular species of frogs. Three years later, when I went back to the region to document them, we travelled all over the area and weren’t able to find any.”
Yet to their astonishment, in the town of Copé in the province of Coclé, they found 15 adolescent frogs accompanied by an adult.
The golden frog will be featured in Corwin’s forthcoming documentary, “The Vanishing Frog.”
I had heard that these Animal Planet fellows were here in town. A few young American expats here (children of the Blume family) went with them on their expedition to the Darién, and returned vowing never to do it again.
That’s great news about the the symbol of El Vallé – the golden frog. I have noticed a dramatic reduction in the number and variety of frogs here in El Vallé, and I understand that many species in the wild have disappeared altogether. Hang in there, rana dorada! Fight the fungus that be!
P.S. Prensa.com’s English-language supplement can be found here:
May 2, 2008
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This is a really great, new video of Jean-Michel Cousteau explaining his personal commitment to Amphibian Ark and overviewing the amphibian extinction crisis. Check out the photo of him and his father, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and the frog menagerie that Jean-Michel has in his home office.
Amphibian Ark truly is fortunate to have a dream team of conservationist “celebrities” supporting our cause: Jean-Michel is joined by Sir David Attenborough and Jeff Corwin in lending time and talent to make the world take notice that we are in danger of losing up to half of the world’s 6,000 amphibian species. Note that the video ends with the new 5 for Frogs campaign logo. Hope you will get involved.
May 2, 2008
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Every 10 years, over 200 species of amphibians become extinct. In Illinois alone, 13 species have found themselves moving off the endangered list into total extinction. In the South—particularly Florida and Mississippi—exotic animals that have been previously domesticated, are being abandoned in inner-city areas, left to fend for themselves where it is impossible to find food and shelter.
Although this is only a small piece of the world’s biological struggle, devastation stems from the northern part of Alaska to the rainforests in the Congo River Basin of Africa. Because of the magnitude of this struggle, people are under the impression that if they can’t save the world, then they shouldn’t help the cause.
“There is an overall apathy when it comes to protecting the environment,” conservationist Jeff Corwin said. “There are things that everyone can do to help our planet. The average person produces five pounds on non-biodegradable waste per day. Things like this can be avoided.”
Corwin’s April 27 presentation, “Tales from the Field,” reiterated the necessity for biological and ecological awareness. Corwin is the host of Animal Planet’s “The Jeff Corwin Experience” and also a recent CNN special, “Planet in Peril,” where he discussed the world’s environmental problems, according to Corwin’s official biography. Through his demonstration and question-and-answer session, he allowed the audience to be face-to-face with amphibians and reptiles, a situation many audience members may have been unfamiliar with. Corwin described the habitats, defensive mechanisms, feeding patterns and predator and prey relationships of a cane toad, alligator snapping turtle, water monitor, albino alligator and Burmese python.
Corwin requested the aid of audience members to help him showcase the animals. While an audience member would hold the amphibian or reptile, Corwin would discuss the biological history of each. However, the history of the alligator snapping turtle proved to be a mystery for Corwin. “We know very little about this species, particularly how long they have been in existence to even how many years they live.”
Corwin also addressed deforestation and the destruction of many rainforests. The Amazon rainforest covers over 50 percent of Brazil and is home to more than 30 percent of the world’s ecosystems, but a fraction of the land has been destroyed, Corwin said.
Also, today’s children failing to be hands-on and environmentally aware is a cause for concern. “My best experiences were when I was a child and my dad would take me out exploring,” Corwin said. “I think children really need to get outside, just explore their own backyard and really focus on the natural resources. This was the catalyst for love for animals and the environment.”
You can watch Corwin’s new series, “Into Alaska,” on the Travel Channel.
February 16, 2008
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This is what was published earlier today in the Business Standard of India:
Jeff Corwin says, “I am also working on my book on amphibians…” Well that’s going to be cool.
Jeff’s already spoken passionately about Amphibian Ark and the amphibian extinction crisis on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and on YouTube videos.
January 2, 2008
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Thanks to hundreds of hopping children and their parents, dozens of caring zoos, a lot of reporters and bloggers, and the compassion of authorities like Sir David Attenborough and Jeff Corwin, the global campaign to save amphibians got a nice lift on the eve of the Year of the Frog.
LONDON — Sir David Attenborough applies finishing touches to the new frog sculpture at the London Zoo. Story here.
BANGLADESH — Below, kids at the Dhaka Zoo in Bangladesh have some leapfrog fun. (Here’s story from Daily Star in Bangladesh.)
LOS ANGELES – Above, The Living Desert’s leapfrog event (in California), and story from The Desert Sun.
ST. LOUIS — Below, the St. Louis Zoo gets kids leapfrogging, photo courtesy of KSDK-TV.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (below, left), and WIRRAL, UK (right), with story.
We know of other news stories on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day including some in London; India; India’s national newspaper; Scotland; Australia; London again; United Arab Emirates; Bangladesh (see above); as well as a list of VIBs (B for bloggers) mentioned in the previous post.
More to come.
December 30, 2007
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If you’re new to the crisis facing amphibians, here is a sequence of videos that will bring you up to speed. Then at the bottom, a list of things to do, if you want to hop in and help.
First, here’s Jeff Corwin, making us care:
Second, here’s Amphibian Ark’s program officer, explaining the importance of amphibians, and what is being done:
And to complete the video trilogy, here’s a look at a rescue project from Latin America (in two parts):
So now what do you do? Glad you asked, and thanks for caring:
Sign the “save the frog” petition. Click here.
Call your zoo and find out if there is a way you can help, right there in your town.
Do a Google search for “amphibian extinction” and keep learning. There are wonderful New Year’s Eve posts about all of this written by experts, and here are links to some of them: Treehugger’s post by Jeremey Elton Jacquot; Darren Nash’s post (he’s actually a dinosaur expert from England); Rhett Butler’s post from Mongabay; Brian Gratwicke’s post; the DearKitty blog post and video; AJ Cann’s post; Bill Slawski’s blog; and Greg’s post on his notextinctyet blog.
If you’re a student, ask your teacher to make saving the frogs a classroom project.
Forward this to as many people as you can think of.
When you have a year named after a cause — in this case, 2008 has been declared The Year of the Frog by conservation groups — you’d better make the best of it. This year is the moment to capture the world’s attention and do something that truly is achievable — averting a mass extinction. Let’s not blow it.
December 28, 2007
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This news release was just pushed out worldwide. It captures what’s happening on Monday, and includes some assessment of what’s been accomplished so far in mobilizing the world to save frogs:
On New Year’s Eve, Zoos Hop into ‘The Year of the Frog’ with Leapfrog Events Starting in New Zealand and Ending in California
LONDON, Dec. 28 /PRNewswire/ — A child’s game will be the focal point of a serious campaign to avert a mass extinction of amphibian species when zoos around the world hold leapfrog events on Dec. 31 to usher in “the year of the frog.” Beginning at the Auckland Zoo in New Zealand, and ending at The Living Desert in Palm Desert, California, zoo visitors will form leapfrog lines and hop over each other — to stretch their legs, and to raise awareness.From one-third to one-half of the planet’s 6,000 amphibian species are in danger of extinction. As many as 165 species may already be extinct.
Amphibian Ark, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) have declared 2008 “The Year of the Frog” to raise awareness and critical funding.Countries with zoos holding New Year’s Eve leapfrog events include, by time zone, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Russia, South Africa, Latvia, Sweden, Hungary, Germany, United Kingdom, United States, Mexico, and Colombia.
Amphibians are often called “the canaries in the coal mine,” and when hundreds of species are in decline it serves as a global warning to other species. Amphibian Ark, part of the Global Conservation Network, a 501(c)3 organization, develops, promotes, and guides short-term captive management of the most threatened amphibians. Amphibian Ark’s work makes possible the long-term survival of species for which adequate protection in the wild is not currently possible.
A list of many participating zoos can be found on http://www.amphibianark.org. The Web site explains the crisis, features an online petition and links to blogs from conservation and wildlife experts, and accepts donations to help fund Amphibian Ark’s work. It will cost $50-$60 million to rescue the 500 most threatened species. The leapfrog events are preceded by considerable momentum for the campaign to save amphibians:
– Sir David Attenborough, whose “Life in Cold Blood” television series on amphibians and reptiles will debut in the spring, last week attended the unveiling of a frog sculpture at the London Zoo to help usher in the special year.
– Jeff Corwin, co-host of CNN’s “Planet in Peril” specials and host of ”The Jeff Corwin Experience” on Animal Planet, has taped PSAs.
– Earlier this month the Clorox Company (NYSE: CLX) became the first corporate sponsor of Amphibian Ark.
– The U.S.-based National Association of Biology Teachers announced a partnership with Amphibian Ark that will more deeply engage 6,000 teachers in the cause.