A global amphibian assessment set the alarm-bells, indicating that amphibian species are being lost and perhaps even before they are being discovered! The assessment revealed that 30 percent of around 6,000 amphibians are threatened with extinction. Sri Lanka alone nearly has double the average.
One of the factors that favoured extinction was the spread of a fungal disease caused by Chytryd fungus. It is believed to have been associated with frogs that have been exported to other parts of the world as part of testing for human pregnancy. From about 1930s the fungus spread to the centres and has spread to wild populations. Some of the local populations cannot survive the attack. It was know to have arrived in Japan in late 2006 when it was found in a pet frog. By mid 2007, it had been picked up in the wild.
Frogs are an important part of the web of life as both predator and prey. They are a sensitive part of the ecosystem so if their wellbeing is compromised it is a warning sign that the entire ecosystem may be in danger.
IUCN’s Asia Program and Species Survival Commission supports the amphibian conservation agenda which developed the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan. To build awareness, the action plan championed the 2008 Year of the Frog campaign. HOPart supports this inititative by harnessing the power of arts, zoos, science and the private sector by bringing artists, corporations, celebrities and NGOs together through a series of gala art auctions at participating zoos and parks worldwide.
IUCN’s Asia Program and Species Survival Commission is developing HOPart by working with IUCN member organizations like Conservation International and the Zoological Society of London, and corporations like Dilmah, to build a powerful consensus and awareness in the fight to preserve some of the nearly 2,000 amphibian species currently facing extinction.
“...you can lose one or two species but if you are losing a lot of species it is a signal that something is terribly wrong...” Andrew Ingles, IUCN