The Tula Exotarium (in Tula, Russia, which is 193 km south of Moscow) recently held a “Year of the Frog” event and Anna Lebedeva, its Head of Education, sent me this article and great photos. (The photos from the top are:  the  Deputy Director of the Department of the Tula Region on Ecology and Natural Resources kisses a giant tree frog (Litoria infrafrenata);  a “frog guide” educates children about amphibians; visitors got to see Ryabov’s bug-eyed frog (Theloderma ryabovi). Here is Anna’s article. (Thank you, Anna! And congratulations.)

On Feb. 1, the global campaign, “2008 – the Year of the Frog,” started in Tula! At the Tula Exotarium that day, an exhibition of rare amphibians, “Disappearing Princesses” was opened. The exhibit showed how diverse and beautiful these animals are, educated visitors about the extinction threats to amphibians, and explained how everyone can help avert the mass extinction. During the two-week exhibition, visitors were able to admire such animals as:

  • The golden poison-arrow frog (Dendrobates auratus)
  • Orange and black poison-dart frog (Phyllobates vittatus)
  • Fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra)
  • Three-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum)
  • Smooth-sided toad (Bufo guttata)
  • Tomato-frog (Discophus guineti)
  • Moss frog (Theloderma corticale)
  • Ryabov’s bug-eyed frog (Theloderma ryabovi)
  • Black-and-white bug-eyed frog (Theloderma asperum)
  • Bug-eyed frog (Theloderma sp.)  (gordoni-group) and many others

Visitors also were able to watch films about these amazing animals and to admire the photographs of amphibians from photographers from Moscow, St.Petersburg, Novomoskovsk and Tula provided specially for the exhibition. Our smallest visitors made frogs of paper. Adults studied the colourful information stands about the International campaign carried out by all Zoos of the world, its aims, its reasons and how they can support it. The most active visitors of the exhibition were able to join the “Amphibian Society”. These are the people who understand the problems of amphibians, sympathize with them and support “2008 – the Year of the Frog.” Every one of them received a badge with the Amphibian Ark/Year of the Frog logo, so that they will be able to wear it during the year and tell others about the amphibian crisis. A frog-guide educated the children about the amphibians of the exhibition, which she showed to them only after the children put on Amphibian Ark masks to demonstrate to the animals their good attitude.

Every television station from Tula and two Federal channels taped reports about the opening of the exhibition and the International campaign “The Year of the Frog”, and also all newspapers of the town and the region wrote articles about it.