Frogs in Peril
An Environmental Article from All-Creatures.org

From

Matt Ellerbeck, as posted on The Vegan Vine
July 2018

​Myriad frogs are being lost each year through the combination of human-caused pollution, development, exploitation, abuse, and climate change. Their unnatural decline cannot rebound on its own, which is why the protection of frogs, like so many other animals, is necessary.

frog

Matt Ellerbeck is a frog advocate and conservationist.

Frogs are in terrible trouble. Around 30 percent of all the world's frog species are threatened with extinction! Many human-induced hazards are killing frogs and contributing to their decline.

Habitat destruction is largely responsible for the loss of frogs. Areas that were once suitable for these nonhumans to live have now been destroyed. The areas that still remain are often polluted with hazardous substances like chemicals, oils, gasoline, and pesticides.

​Habitats are often isolated and cut off from one another by roads and highways that now slice through them. Countless frogs are killed on roads and highways every year when they are hit by vehicles.

A 2006 study from Carleton University in Ottawa found heavy traffic to be a larger threat to frogs than habitat loss.

Sadly, many frogs who are migrating to mating and egg-laying sites must cross over roads to reach such areas where many of the maturer individuals are killed. This greatly limits their reproductivity and makes it incredibly hard for various frog species to rebound.

Being struck and killed by vehicles is not the only threat that roads create for frogs. Chemical run-off from vehicles contaminate roadside ditches and pools. These sites are often utilized by frogs for mating and birthing.

Climate change is among the most serious threats that frogs face. Increased temperatures, changing humidity levels, desertification, and droughts wreak havoc on frogs as they do other animals. Frogs are generally adapted to moist and cooler habitats and may require very specific conditions to thrive, therefore, changes to these conditions can be life threatening. Since frogs can live in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats, shifts in these environments results in dying frogs and dwindling frog species. Changes in climate can also effect the forming and availability of critical habitat features such as vernal pools (utilized as mating and birthing/egg-laying sites). Certain frog species have small natural ranges and within these ranges show fidelity to over-wintering sites. Thus, they have limited opportunities for movement if their habitats are degraded. Climate change is often cited as one of the reasons why frogs are disappearing from otherwise pristine and protected habitats.

Disease is another issue plaguing frogs. Chytridiomycosis is an often fatal infectious skin disease that seriously affects frogs. The condition is caused by the chytrid fungus—Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis or Bd. It has been devastatingly deadly to frogs. Bd has been found on all of the continents where frogs reside and may be responsible for the greatest disease-caused loss of life and biodiversity in recorded history (Skerratt et al. 2007).

frog

Chytridiomycosis has been linked to many frog deaths and extinctions of frog species in western North America, Central America, South America, eastern Australia, East Africa, and in parts of the Caribbean. The fungus is capable of causing sporadic deaths in some and 100 percent mortality in others. Sadly, no effective measure is known to control the disease in natural environments. Ranavirus is another affliction affecting frogs. The pathogen causes severe bleeding of their internal organs.

Numerous frogs are also seized from their homes by humans who exploit them as bait for fish, for the lucrative pet trade, for use in vivisection, and as a delicacy food. These misuses account for millions and millions of frogs who are captured and killed annually! David Bickford from the National University of Singapore estimates that between 180 million to over a billion frogs are killed each year just so humans can eat them.

The aforementioned diseases affecting amphibians are also being spread throughout various groups and to other previously healthy animals via these unethical trades and uses. When sick nonhuman animals are abducted from their natural habitats and then shipped and sold in other locations they bring their diseases with them.

​Myriad frogs are being lost each year through the combination of human-caused pollution, development, exploitation, abuse, and climate change. Their unnatural decline cannot rebound on its own, which is why the protection of frogs, like so many other animals, is necessary. Without rights and assistance, many simply will not survive the onslaught we have brought to bear on them.


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