tonnes of co2 emitted
acres of forest lost
Amphibians are the most endangered of all vertebrates, with more than a third of the 6600 known species threatened with extinction. Addressing their extinction crisis is thought to be one of the greatest conservation challenges we have ever faced.
Amphibians include frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and the worm-like caecilians.
As with other animals, the degradation, pollution and loss of habitat is the primary threat but for these delicate creatures with soft, permeable skin and a life-cycle split between land and water, infectious disease has become the most urgent threat to address. The silent march of chytrid fungus across all the continents of the world has brought many frogs species to the brink of oblivion and may have contributed to the final demise of the 150 or more species thought to have become extinct in the past twenty-five years.
Chytrid fungus is a MAJOR threat to amphibians. it invades the skin of amphibians and fatally disrupts their water balance. In many cases, the disease is decimating amphibian populations in otherwise pristine habitat and so conventional conservation techniques in the wild alone will not help to save these species from extinction.
We support field monitoring and research projects for some very rare and unusual frogs in the wild, including Darwin’s frogs from Chile, the Mountain Chicken from Montserrat and Dominica, and the Green-eyed Frog from Costa Rica.
Zoos are extremely important in amphibian conservation, safeguarding species in specially designed bio secure ‘A-Pods’. This ensures we have safety net populations in case species go extinct in the wild, and provides the potential to reintroduce animals back to the wild. Using these zoo populations, we can learn more about the species and how best to save them.
Lead Keeper Herpetology, Chester Zoo
Hi, I’m Ben a Lead Keeper at Chester Zoo working within the Herpetology Team.
One of my main roles within the team is to work in the zoo’s Amphibian Pods or A-pods. The A-pods were designed and developed as a rapid response to the threat of Chytrid Fungus on wild populations of amphibians, and enabled us to provide a safe and secure environment for some of the species most at threat. At Chester Zoo we have the only non-wild population of the Green-eyed Frog in the world, so it's an honour to think that we are playing a major role in keeping this species from becoming extinct.
Like a lot of people, frogs and tadpoles were a part of my childhood. I learnt about them at school, was fascinated with them in the local ponds and watched them on TV - good old Kermit. And okay, so the worst thing about working with amphibians is they’re not affectionate creatures but just because they don’t love us, really doesn’t mean we shouldn’t love them.
Amphibians are really special because they’re what we call bio-indicators and can tell us about the welfare of the habitats they live in. They are so important and it would be devastating to lose them, so I hope you'll support me and the team and help to save them.
A Thank you letter,
& A personalised e-card.
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