Amphibians, most of which breathe through their skin, are vulnerable to virtually all the modern environmental ills: pollution, deforestation, pesticides and a deadly fungus known as chytrid.
“It’s not just amphibians that are crashing,” said Paul Crump, a reptile and amphibian keeper at the Houston Zoo. “We’re all crashing. Birds. Fish. Mammals. But the amphibians are the first to go. They serve as a smack in the face for us.”The Year of the Frog was designated by Amphibian Ark, a conservation group started by the World Conservation Union and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, to draw attention and money to the problems of amphibians.
Frogs and other amphibians are “jump” species, a link between water- and land-dwellers. They also hold a pivotal spot on the food chain, eating mosquitoes, other insects and rodents, while being eaten by snakes, birds and mammals.
More vulnerable to environmental changes than most other species, they serve as an early-warning system of sorts, dying off before other groups are affected.
March 12, 2008
Amphibian Ark story in Dallas Morning NewsPosted by pleasecroak under Zoo | Tags: Amphibian Ark, amphibians, houston zoo, world association of zoos, world conservation union |
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