20 May 2009

“Sobering discovery” for Europe’s amphibians and reptiles

More than half of all European amphibians and two-fifths of all reptiles are disappearing, according to new studies commissioned by the European Commission and carried out by IUCN.

Announced today, the results are the first of their kind in Europe. They highlight alarming declines for a range of frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards. The study shows that of Europe’s 85 species of amphibian, 23% now feature on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. Of 151 reptile species, 22% are on the Red List.

Stavros Dimas, European Commissioner for the Environment, called it “a sobering discovery”.

“This reflects the enormous pressure we are placing on Europe’s plants and animals, and underlines the need to rethink our relation to the natural world,” he said. “These trends cannot continue.”

Dr Helen Temple, co-author of the study said: “Natural habitats across Europe are being squeezed by growing human populations, agricultural intensification, urban sprawl and pollution.”

“That is not good news for either amphibians or reptiles.”

The results will be presented on World Biodiversity Day, Friday 22nd May 2009.

For more details: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/species/redlist/


Anonymous said...

This year has seen a lot of activity from frogs in my brothers garden pond, with around 27 frogs spawning and many of his goldfish dead in the process. However after spawning there was an enormouse amount of frog spawn, this looked very promising for the hatching process in the near future we thought. however all of a sudden the frog spawn has vanished, does anyone know the reason or has this been a natural happening around the country? My brothers pond in the Vale of Evesham has now only a few tadpoles and he has restocked the fish population. It would be interesting to know if anyone else has had this happen. Ron Bennett in Evesham Worcestershire.

Anonymous said...

I have 2 ponds in my garden - 1 is a wildlife pond with no fish and 1 is ornamental with fish. Frogs spawn in both ponds but the tadpoles don't survive in the ornamental pond because the fish eat them as they hatch. Maybe thats what has happened in your brother's pond. This year has been bad in the wildlife pond too as the spawn was laid just before we had some hard frosts, the water froze round the spawn and lots didn't hatch. As we have quite a few newts they take lots of the tadpoles so all in all its been a bad year for tadpoles in our garden.

Anonymous said...

the same thing has happened in my pond. hard frosts killed all the spawn and we have no tadpoles at all this year. plus the neighbour's cat culled many adult frogs as they left the pond after mating. any ideas on how to stop this slaughter?

Anonymous said...

To comment on all previous notes. I have a large ornamental pond and a tiny wildlife pond. I had frog spawn and now many tadpoles in both. I used to have a large newt population (declined as fish populaton grew) but I found that the newts ate most of my frogspawn and tadpoles closely followed by the fish and even the Blackbirds! Currently tadpoles till surviving and growing well in Surrey at the moment. I also have cats but find if you can keep lots of thick undergrowth frogs/toads can escape. Spray cats with water if you see them as they hate getting wet.

Ali Twigg said...

I believe that if you place a tennis ball in the water of your pond, it helps to slow down the rate of freezing.

As frost catches many of us unawares, it may provide enough time to temporarily cover the pond and prevent freezing, followed by the subsequent wipeout of frogspawn.

There may be some kind of cover that is available 'on the market'. If anyone knows of anything suitable, please share your knowledge.


Anonymous said...

I had frog spawn in my tiny wildlife pond this year for the first time and was very excited as was my little grandson;however we watched and watched.........and watched....... and it all disappeared just like our Evesham friend.I live in Cardiff and would also be interested in further information. Ruth

About Froglife said...

Thanks for all of your comments. 'Disappearing spawn' is a phenomenon that we hear about often at Froglife, through our enquiry service.

It can relate to a number of things, mainly predators and late frosts.

Causes of spawn failure: http://www.froglife.org/disease/Diseasespawn.htm

Causes of 'disappearing tadpoles':

As for cats, these can be a real problem for amphibians in many gardens. We'd agree with the comments from 'Clangers' on this: the more hiding places (log piles, thick foliage, plant pots) the higher the chances of the frogs escaping. Keeping cats in (as much as possible) during the period when froglets have metamorphosised and are leaving the ponds is also good advice.

Best wishes, The Froglife Team.