An invitation to CEC from the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group

29 April 2013 | News story

Given the power of collaboration, the ASG is partnering to create innovative campaigns and conservation efforts. Candace Hansen, Robin Moore and James Lewis invite CEC members to join.

Amphibian Specialist Group 

ASG is bringing together a volunteer network of experts to help further global conservation efforts for amphibians. Formed in 2005, this IUCN SSC Specialist Group has driven forward a number of programs focused almost exclusively on habitat protection. With the beginning of the new IUCN quadrennium it was decided to broaden our remit and impact by promoting all those working in amphibian conservation, research and education.

We want to become a more inclusive group with a better global grasp on where action is happening and where gaps exist. We are committed to building on our work supporting the protection of critical amphibian habitat around the world. One challenge we have faced is limited knowledge of what conservation action is underway or needed around this world. We have created a platform on our website for conservationists to promote their projects. With this resource developing daily we are able to highlight ongoing projects and help donors make informed decisions about their investments in amphibian conservation.

Underpinning everything that the ASG does is the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Updates to the Amphibians on the Red List are coordinated by the ASG, a daunting process with over 7,000 species requiring regular updates, along with many new species being added every year. Our approach to creating an inclusive conversation around amphibians is clearly demonstrated in our recently launched online Red Listing forum. The Red Listing forum is designed to make the Red Listing process more transparent and inclusive, helping all those who work and care for amphibians to join in the conversation.

Another area for engagement is the Search for Lost Frogs. This campaign is designed to engage a broader public and promote amphibians as flagships for conservation. Between August 2010 and January 2011 more than thirty-three teams were dispatched into twenty countries in search of species lost to science. The campaign generated a momentum that continues today and has resulted in more than a dozen rediscoveries and over 650 news articles in 20 countries. Species rediscoveries have proven to be a powerful tool for conservation, raising the profile of an often overlooked group and delivering a serious and important message in a compelling package. Those species that have survived where others around them have disappeared are the subject of ongoing research that could provide answers to some of the most pressing questions regarding the continued survival of many amphibian species.

With all of this incredible work underway, we want to make sure that we are getting our message, and the message of our partners, out to the wider community. Amphibian conservation is about more than simply doing what we can to prevent species from becoming extinct. It is more than just talking about what is going wrong. We know what is wrong. We now need to motivate people into action. There are a lot of success stories out there – we are just not hearing about them. Once people have been inspired, they will then want to do what they can do to help amphibians.

We would  like to take this opportunity to invite CEC members to contact the ASG to help build partnerships and find new ways of working together. We can work together to bring the stories of opportunity and success to a rapidly growing and diversifying audience. We are using our social media outlets to deliver stories and messages about where amphibian conservation effort successes are occurring and why they are successful. We would like to model future action on examples of effective use of social media for conservation.

Read more about some of collaborative education intiatives:

If you would like more information about how to work together, contact James Lewis, ASG Programme Officer,at jplewis@amphibians.org