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Originally Posted: January 31, 2012
FROM Save the Frogs
The California Fish & Game Commission is considering a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity to list the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog (Rana sierrae and R. muscosa) as threatened/endangered under California's Endangered Species Act. They vote on February 2, 2012 and we need to make sure they know that wildlife enthusiasts from California and beyond support this listing.
Sign an online petition:
And/or better yet, make direct contact:
California Fish & Game Commission
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
phone (916) 653-4899
fax (916) 653-5040
INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS
Dear California Fish & Game Commission,
I am writing to urge you to help safeguard the future of the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog (Rana sierrae and Rana muscosa) by listing the species as Threatened and Endangered, respectively, under the California Endangered Species Act.
Less than a century ago, the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog was one of the most abundant amphibians in California. Unfortunately, the frogs have disappeared from over 90% of the aquatic habitats they once inhabited, in large part due to the introduction of non-native trout, which are voracious predators of tadpoles; and the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Though this fungus is known to have driven many amphibian species to extinction worldwide in recent decades, the state of California has yet to take any action to prevent its importation.
This week the California Fish & Game Commission has the opportunity to make a significant contribution to worldwide amphibian conservation efforts by listing the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog as Threatened/Endangered under the State Endangered Species Act. Without the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act, there is a significant chance that these frogs will go extinct in coming decades. Listing the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog as threatened and endangered sets California properly along the path towards protecting two of the world’s most endangered amphibian species.
Amphibian populations have been declining worldwide at unprecedented rates, and approximately one-third of the world’s 6,915 amphibian species are threatened with extinction. Up to 200 species have completely disappeared since 1980. This constitutes the largest mass extinction event in recorded history. Amphibian populations are faced with an onslaught of environmental problems, including pollution, infectious diseases, habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, and over-harvesting for the pet and food trades. Unless these problems are remedied, amphibian species will continue to disappear, resulting in irreversible consequences to the planet’s ecosystems and to humans. Frogs eat ticks, mosquitoes and flies; they serve as food for an array of wildlife; they act as bio-indicators, alarming us of environmental decay; many of our medicines are derived from chemicals on their skin; and they symbolize the natural world that is increasingly disappearing. As such, there are many reasons we must save the world’s remaining frog populations.
While I understand the concerns of fishermen and gold prospectors, it should be clear that neither prospecting for gold nor fishing are essential to the survival of those who speak against this listing. Indeed, neither fishermen nor gold prospectors are on the verge of extinction, and there are many streams on the planet in which to fish or seek gold. Fishing would not be greatly impacted as only a small fraction (likely less than 10%) of the thousands of lakes and streams that currently hold introduced trout would be returned to a fishless condition to benefit frogs. That is a consequence of trout removal being limited to a small subset of the fish-containing water bodies due to logistical considerations (i.e., will only be successful where natural barriers prevent immigration of fish into habitats following removal). Similarly, suction dredging is typically conducted at relatively low elevations where mountain yellow-legged frogs seldom live. So, while dredging would likely be halted where frogs do exist, this would impact only a very small number of the overall dredging sites.
It is our duty as citizens to protect California’s native wildlife and ensure their long-term persistence. As an abundance of scientific data supports the Center for Biological Diversity’s petition and the California Department of Fish & Game's recent conclusion that the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog is indeed threatened with extinction, I urge you to list the species as Threatened/Endangered under the state Endangered Species Act.
Thank you for your consideration.
Thank you for everything you do for animals!