27 April 2009

Planet says “Save the Frogs” – UK says “Dig for Britain”

Frog populations have been disappearing worldwide at unprecedented rates, and nearly one-third of the world’s 6,418 amphibian species are threatened with extinction. At least 100 species have completely disappeared since 1980.

In an effort to raise awareness of the plight of amphibians, the scientific community has declared April 28th 2009 the first Annual 'Save the Frogs Day'.

Worldwide, a number of amphibian conservation organisations, scientists and schools will encourage the appreciation and celebration of amphibians by people from all walks of life.

In the UK, Froglife –a national wildlife charity conserving amphibians and reptiles– is urging the public to dig more garden ponds.

Amphibian numbers in the UK’s countryside have declined in the last hundred years, largely through the disappearance of the ponds on which they depend to breed. The situation is now so serious that many populations are dependent on urban garden ponds and urban allotments to survive.

Froglife says more ponds are needed for amphibians, and the public can contribute: “85% of the UK population have gardens, and many of these can be made frog-friendly by adding a pond.” said Lucy Benyon, Froglife’s Wildlife Information Officer. “Within months, ponds often become an oasis for local wildlife – providing feeding and breeding grounds for a host of amphibians, and many invertebrates, mammals and birds.”

To celebrate Save the Frogs Day, Froglife is offering the public free copies of a booklet called ‘Just Add Water’. The booklet offers advice on how to build a pond, and covers a variety of subjects: from what shape to dig, how deep to go, and where to get the water; to technical advice on making ponds safe for young children.

“What we’re calling for is for gardeners to put down the trowel, reach for the spade and get digging – Save the Frogs Day is the perfect day to get started,” said Ms Benyon.

You can find out more about Just Add Water by visiting: www.froglife.org/justaddwater

To find out more about Save the Frogs Day visit: www.savethefrogs.com/day

Bafta award for Life in Cold Blood

Froglife and the Herpetological Conservation Trust (HCT) congratulate Sir David Attenborough on winning a Bafta for the ground-breaking BBC1 documentary programme about reptiles and amphibians, Life in Cold Blood.

Attenborough took to the stage after an excerpt from Life in Cold Blood showed a pair of copulating tortoises. "Thanks go to spitting cobras, axolotls, golden frogs, dwarf chameleons, those happy tortoises," Attenborough said. "I have got the best job going, and to go around the world and see all those marvelous things is more than anyone could wish for."

The Bafta is the eighth time he and his programmes have been honoured.

To find out more about the UK species of Life in Cold Blood visit: www.froglife.org/advice.htm