27 June 2012

What YOU Can Do for Wildlife: Part 6

For 2012 we are creating a list of 12 different ways you can help amphibians and reptiles. This month, we focus on working with other people and tackling the aken perceptions the animals sometimes face.

Idea Number 6. Spread the Love

Toad Ambassador Nathalie Cox shares her passion for the gardener's friend: the toad
Scary and slimy or cool and intriguing? From chatting to a wide range of people over the years, we know that how amphibians and reptiles are perceived varies hugely. On the surface, these opinions may not seem to matter – we carry on conserving the animals regardless. However, investment in conservation projects that help amphibians and reptiles is nowhere near that invested in furry or feathered animals. People save what they love – and if we don’t tackle the misunderstanding that these animals are dangerous, disgusting or just not important, we risk losing them.

Kathy Wormald, Froglife’s CEO, is an ambassador for the animals amongst her friends and family. “I do bore everyone I know silly by talking about Froglife. I made my daughter feel so guilty about not being able to attend a fundraiser that she did a run for Froglife and got her company to match fund!” says Kathy. “Having met frogs in my garden pond, my grandchildren are now ambassadors too.”

Frogllifer Rob Williams reminded himself and his friends how amazing amphibians are by raising tadpoles at home.  “I rescued them from a drying puddle and took pictures as they developed," explains Rob.  "I learnt things about tadpoles that I never knew before. One of the best things was seeing my house mate (a 40 yr old IT consultant with no interest in wildlife) checking on them daily to see how they were getting on and then missing them after we released them.”

Here are some tips to help us spread the love:

• Get involved in some education volunteering. This could be with Froglife, a local nature site, your local Amphibian and Reptile Group, or even a captive collection in a museum or a zoo.
• Show people the wildlife in their patch or yours. Introduce the frogs in your pond or the newts in the nearby nature reserve to some new friends.
• Question discrimination and stereotyping and let people know about your passion and interest for the animals. Share what you love about them, their fascinating lifecycles and how they link to other animals in the ecosystem. Do some mythbusting.
• Make comments on websites that have misinformation about the animals.
• Share your cool wildlife shots with your friends and others on social networking sites.

We'd love to know how you get on.  Do share your story and any tips.  

You can also help by sponsoring animals on our website.  Click here to find out more.