Amphibian Crisis!!!

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Amphibian Crisis!!!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

The Problem

Did you know that up to 50 of amphibians are threatened, endangered or on the brink of extinction? Amphibians are declining rapidly, with at least 120 species of amphibian extinct within recent years

The Reason




The most devastating factor affecting these animals is habitat loss. This is particularly prevalent in the South American rainforests, where there are still many species still to be discovered! Other serious issues affecting frogs, toads, salamanders and caecilians are climate change, pesticides, pollution, and over collection for the pet trade. There is also another very distressing factor: chytrid fungus, a deadly disease which can affect all amphibians. So far it has proven to be unstoppable and untreatable in the wild. It has recently been proven that some recent extinctions have been caused by this fungal infection alone.

The Solution

There are a number of ways we can help slow this mass extinction:

  • Ex-Situ (off site) conservation — rescue severely threatened species and put them in “protective custody” for safe-keeping in zoos and aquariums . It is hoped that these rescued species will be returned to the wild once the original threats have been controlled.
  • In Situ (on site) conservation— research conservation on the biology of amphibians and monitor the Chytrid fungus.
  • Public Awareness — generate appreciation and concern, and raise sufficient funds to implement ex-situ and in-situ conservation plans.

Frogs Matter, Jump in!!



Amphibians offer a range of benefits:

Important ecological role

Amphibians are an important ecological species, playing the part of both predator and prey in many areas, and sustaining the delicate balance of nature. Where they have disappeared, detrimental affects have been documented.

Pest Control

Amphibians act as natures pest control, preying primarily on insects and other invertebrates, which contributes to successful agriculture and controlling the spread of disease (e.g. malaria).

Natures Indicator



Because of their highly permeable skin, amphibians are susceptible to the slightest change in their external environment. In this sense they act as important environmental indicators of the health of our environment. When they show a decline, it acts as an important warning for other species, including humans.

Medical Cure

Amphibian toxins have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Their skin produces a number of useful substances that provide a range of medicines, for everything from potent painkillers to treatments for cancer and HIV.

What you can do...




The World Association of Zoos and Aquaria (WAZA) in conjunction with the Amphibian Ark have drafted a petition calling on support for amphibians by governments around the world. The signatures collected will be sent to the United Nations.

You can sign this petition by logging onto the Amphibian Ark website (link below) or by visiting the Learning and Discovery Centre in Dublin Zoo.


European zoos (coordinated by EAZA; European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) hope to raise over €750,000 to create an Endowment Fund, which would provide a financial long-term guarantee for amphibian conservation activities. Dublin Zoo shall donate €10,000 and we hope to raise more money through find-raising. Donations can be made at one of the Amphibian Ark collection points around the zoo, or to the ‘Dublin Zoo Amphibian Ark Campaign' bank account : Ulster Bank, PO Box 145, 33 College Green, Dublin 2. Account Number: 12951877 Sort Code 98-50-10

Alternatively children can participate in the “All about toads and frogs” workshops being run throughout the summer.

Help our native amphibians!



Three species of amphibians can be found in Ireland – the common frog, the natterjack toad and the smooth newt. You can help frogs by building a “frog-friendly” garden pond or by participating in the “Hop-to-it” survey coordinated by the Irish Peatland Conservation Council. Please find a link to their website below.

Spread the word

It is vitally important that as many people as possible are aware of this crisis so they too can have the opportunity to act...

Useful Links

Amphibian Ark

Irish Peatlands Conservation trust

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