One-third of the world’s 6,000 known amphibian species are in danger of going extinct—which makes amphibians the most threatened group of creatures on the planet.
What’s Killing Our Amphibians?
All over the globe, hundreds of frog and other amphibian species are quietly but swiftly sliding onto top 10 endangered species lists and toward extinction. The environmental problems this group of creatures faces are legion: Habitat loss, pesticide use, air and water pollution, competition and predation from invasive species, increased Ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation in the atmosphere and global climate change. But perhaps the worst threat is an incurable—and fatal—fungal disease called chytridomycosis that has been striking amphibian populations around the globe and has been especially virulent in Australia.
Some species have already gone extinct because of one or a combination of these problems. For instance, the once-common golden toad (Incilius periglenes; pictured above) of Costa Rica has not been seen since 1989 and is considered to be extinct. Scientists believe that the contributing factors to the toad’s demise were pollution, global warming and chytridomycosis.
The International Union for the Conservation of Species (IUCN) recently announced the establishment of a new coalition of conservation groups dedicated to solving the amphibians’ problems, especially chytridomycosis. The new group is called the Amphibian Survival Alliance and will focus on finding out why amphibian chytrid fungus disease has suddenly begun killing killing so many frogs and other amphibians in recent decades. The group will also look for ways to stop the disease from spreading and eventually cure it.
Read more about the Amphibian Survival Alliance and what the experts have to say about the disappearance of our amphibians.