20 November 2008

Global frog celebration hits Scotland

Some of the world’s leading frog experts have been in Scotland to celebrate the closing stages of Year of the Frog 2008 – a global campaign to raise awareness about the enormous extinction crisis facing the world’s frogs, toads and newts.

‘Year of the Frog – a big leap forward’ was organised by Froglife and Edinburgh Zoo (with financial support of Glasgow Natural History Society), and took place on Friday 14th November 2008.

The event was hosted by the eminent zoologist and broadcaster, Professor Aubrey Manning who spoke passionately about the value of amphibians, both ecologically and for human culture:

“Frogs have captured the human imagination for generations, yet we can see them also as ‘canaries in the coalmine’ for the survival of future generations,” said Professor Manning in his opening address.

Speakers on the night represented a number of conservation organisations and institutions working tirelessly to tackle amphibian declines, both globally and in Scotland.

On the night, as well as hearing about conservation efforts in Trinidad, Australia and Panama, attendees also heard about new initiatives and partnerships closer to home. A series of before-and-after photos of pond restorations in and around the City of Glasgow was particularly well received, bringing the sell-out crowd to applause.

Professor Manning summed up the evening, saying: “For amphibians, the statistics are deeply concerning. We needed good news stories and we’ve heard them tonight.”

In 2009, Froglife hope to bring more good news stories to Scotland with the launch of Froglife Scotland (Registered Charity 04382714).

The launch has been welcomed by many Scottish institutions and organisations, individuals and volunteers. Yesterday, Liam McArthur, MSP for Orkney and the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Environment, Rural Development and Energy circulated the following motion to its ministers:

"...the Parliament congratulates the charity Froglife on its Scottish launch which took place at Edinburgh Zoo on Friday 14th of November; recognises the importance of charity’s achievements in England where it has a strong record conserving habitats for amphibians, reptiles and a wide range of other species; further congratulates the charity on its excellent record of achieving its conservation aims through a process of engaging and working with a diverse section of the population including harder to reach groups such as young offenders and people with learning difficulties; wishes the charity every success in its continued work and looks forward to seeing the benefits that this work can bring to Scotland."

More at: www.froglife.org/scotland