Happy National Zoo Day! While I am first to admit that animals should stay in their natural habitats whenever possible, oftentimes captive populations are the only hope for species that are in danger. The members of the American Zoological Association (AZA) are at the forefront of conservation efforts of endangered creatures – protecting and breeding animals in captivity helps species get back on its feet and monitors problems as well. If you're curious why they are calling 2008 the Year of the Frog,
As you may have guessed, the AZA is kicking off a Year of the Frog campaign in 2008. The situation of many frogs (as well as toads, salamanders, and newts) is dire. In fact, it's estimated that at least one-third of known amphibian species are threatened with extinction according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN)! The combined effect of habitat destruction, climate change, pollution, and diseases cannot be addressed solely in the wild so, with the help of their staff members, zoologists, and researchers, the member zoos and aquariums are taking their efforts to the next level and focusing on frogs in upcoming year.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed thirty-seven amphibian species under the Endangered Species Act and, of special note, are our four amphibians on the critically endangered list: the Mississippi gopher frog, the Chiricahua leopard frog, the Wyoming toad, and the mountain yellow-legged frog (shown above). Stay tuned for more news on PetSugar about the AZA's efforts to engage the public in amphibian conservation and about their critical work as well.