Frogs are one of the most threatened animal groups on earth. In Australia, they are the only remaining amphibians. Of our 246 species, nearly all are unique to our continent.
Dr Jodi Rowley from the Australian Museum says in an interview on ABC Radio National’s ‘Off Track’ that: “Frogs are incredibly threatened – one of the biggest challenges we are facing is trying to figure out how we don’t lose any more Australian frogs. We’ve already lost at least four species, many others are missing, feared extinct.”
Annually, each November, citizen scientists help to fill in the many gaps in our knowledge. Using the Frog ID app they contribute to this project by recording frog calls and sending them to the Australian Museum.
The many threats to frogs include the chytrid fungus, land clearing, and climate change (including bush fires). Frogs are an important indicator of the health of our environment. Their permeable skin, and their need to live in both water and land, mean they are more susceptible to environmental change than many other animal groups.
A clear indication of the decline of our ecosystems is that frog numbers are plummeting at an alarming rate – an estimated 40 per cent of frog species worldwide are threatened with extinction.
So how can we help frogs? As well as reversing climate change and land clearing, reducing pollution and preventing lakes and waterways from being drained or contaminated by chemical run-off, we can also help by making our gardens frog friendly.
Not all frogs are attracted to a garden environment, there are some that live in deserts, spending months or years underground, another lives in termite mounds and feeds only on termites, but many can be helped by our efforts as gardeners.
If you want to help by building a frog pond in your backyard, you can buy our December 200/January 2021 issue (#122) and have it delivered!
By: Penny Woodward
First published: December 2020