27 April 2013

We All Stand Together: Frogs Find Friends on Global Awareness Day

Wildlife charity Froglife are joining an international day raising awareness about the plight of frogs with an event at the Natural History Museum and a call for supporters to join the amphibian cause.  Save the Frogs Day falls on Saturday 27thApril and was initiated by Dr Kerry Kriger in the USA.  Across the world, one third of amphibian species are threatened with extinction with 31.6% frogs at risk or already extinct.  This makes them more vulnerable than mammals or birds.  The frogs’ cause is gradually gathering more support through this awareness campaign, attracting some unusual friends.

A juvenile common frog by Darren Bealing
“The threats amphibians are facing are severe,” said Mike Dilger, Froglife’s Patron and wildlife presenter.  “It’s just terrifying that we could lose so many species on the planet in the next few years.  There is an urgent need for people to recognise what is going on and take action to help prevent it.”

Save the Frogs, before it's too late: Froglife's Patron Mike Dilger
The main threats facing frogs and other amphibians are habitat loss and degradation, disease, invasive species and pollution.  Action needed to save species include research and protective work around amphibian disease, changes in land management and farming practices.

“Here in the UK, the main species of frog you will find in your garden is widespread but declining,” adds Mike.  “There are concerns that this could become a lot more serious without proactive steps to keep our common frogs (Rana temporaria) flourishing.” 

Among the new friends of frogs is Comedian Graham Fellowes, AKA John Shuttleworth.  He became aware of the threats facing frogs and penned a song to help spread the frog-friendly message.

"My 10 year old son, George wanted to see what frogspawn and tadpoles looked like," explained Graham. "It was Spring but the ponds in my area were all frogless. I realised the only way was to go on Youtube. Fancy that - a kid having to go online to find out what a tadpole looks like. When I was his age, we had frogspawn coming out of our ears! The shock of this realisation galvanised me into contacting Froglife and offering John's services." Graham added.

Love the Frogs: John Shuttleworth hops on board

UK populations of frogs are under threat from disease and habitat loss, with an outbreak of a disease such as Ranavirus or the destruction of local ponds able to wipe out a local population in a short time.  Ranavirus is a disease that Froglife have been aware of since the 1980s and they have been working with the Institute of Zoology on a research project to help stop the spread of the disease.

“We were really concerned to hear that such an iconic animal has become so threatened,” explained Chris Marshall, Brand Manager for Cadbury, the creators of the Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo chocolate bar. “To help raise awareness, we are adding Froglife guides to our website, to help families and young people understand what we can all do to help.” 

Chocolate is better when it's frog shaped: Cadburys help spread the word
Froglife’s Dragon Finder Team are hosting a Save theFrogs Day event in the Wildlife Garden at the Natural History Museum, London. They will be running educational sessions throughout the afternoon, from 12-4pm.  The sessions will begin with a fascinating talk that celebrates the amazing amphibians that we share our planet with, and also sheds light on the reasons for their decline. The talk will be followed by a craft session, in which participants get to decorate and take home their very own tropical frog model. Between the sessions you can also join us for a spot of pond dipping, and get up close with some of our native amphibian species.

What you can do to Save the Frogs:
·         Listen to and share John Shuttleworth’s song 
·         Organic gardening – go chemical free
·         Don’t release pet amphibians (or any other animals) into the wild
·         Don’t move frogs or frogspawn
·         Donate £1-£10 by texting NEWT13 plus your donation amount to 70070
·         Tweet your froggy pics to @froglifers and support #Savethefrogs

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