2007/8 EAZA Year of the Frog
One half to one third of all amphibian species are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, climate change, pollution and pesticides, introduced species, over-collection and, most urgently, chytrid fungus, a deadly disease that is rapidly eradicating amphibian species throughout the planet. This represents the greatest species conservation challenge in our history.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) Global Amphibian Assessment indicates that hundreds of species face threats that cannot be mitigated in the wild and, therefore, require zoos and other institutions to save them in the short term until adequate conservation measures to secure wild populations can be developed.
In response to the amphibian extinction crisis, Amphibian Ark (AArk) was formed by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and two branches of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (IUCN/SSC) – the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) and the Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG).
AArk will help zoos, aquariums, and other participating institutions to save as many amphibian species as possible by bringing those species that can not be safeguarded in nature into institutions for captive breeding. 2008 has been named The Year of the Frog as a means of building public awareness of the amphibian crisis.
- They play an important role in the ecosystem as both predator and prey, sustaining the delicate balance of nature.
- They perform invertebrate pest population control, important to successful agricultural efforts around the world and reducing the spread of disease (e.g. malaria)
- Their skin produces substances that kill microbes and viruses, offering promising medical cures for a variety of illnesses, including HIV.
- Their skin is highly permeable, allowing contaminants to more readily enter the body, making them an exceptional indicator of environmental quality.
- Frogs have maintained a special place in human culture for many centuries, cherished as agents of life and good luck
- Generate public awareness and understanding of the amphibian extinction crisis.
- To raise funds for implementing the ex situ aspects of ACAP (Amphibian Conservation Action Plan)
- To encourage further EAZA member participation in amphibian ex situ conservation
- To raise awareness and funds to support and supplement the activities of the AArk
- Further position IUCN and the zoo community as leaders in global conservation