Saturday, April 28, 2012 is the fourth annual worldwide Save the Frogs Day. According to the Save the Frogs web page, Save the Frogs Day is “the world’s largest day of amphibian education and conservation action.”
Save the Frogs is “America’s first and only public charity dedicated to amphibian conservation.” Save the Frogs has a 2012 goal of “200 events in 30 countries.” The organization’s web page notes that, so far, “events are currently planned in Australia, Bangladesh, Belize, Bhutan, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Germany, Ghana, India, Italy, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine and the United States.”
To reach their goal, they are encouraging visitors to the web site to “organize an event in your community, and ask your local schools and environmental organizations to take part as well. Please be sure to register your event, no matter how big or small it may be.”
Tucson is celebrating Save The Frogs Day. The Arizona State Museum is sponsoring a free public event in which the Biodiversity Group, Defenders of Wildlife, and other frog lovers will parade a 175 foot long biodiversity tapestry across the University of Arizona campus. Participants will carry the tapestry to the Arizona State Museum. The Southwest Chapter of Defenders of Wildlife will be on hand from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to provide information to the public and local educators in particular about local native and threatened species. “Stephanie Bowman, the lead artist and instigator of the social art project “Sewing Spots Together” will be available to give information on our locally endangered Chiricahua Leopard Frog as well as the jaguar, which are both featured on the tapestry.” According to the event information on the Save the Frogs web site, event organizers are looking for 20 people to assist with carrying the tapestry across campus. Interested participants can email the event organizer from the Biodiversity Group.
At this time, this is the only event registered in Arizona on the Save the Frogs website.
Amphibians have been in decline in recent years, plagued by a number of maladies such as a fungus called chytrid, and in some cases, species have vanished altogether. In Arizona, the leopard frog has suffered not only from loss of suitable habitat, but it has been attacked by chytrid, a fungus that can be carried and spread by the much larger, non-native bullfrog. The fungus can wipe out entire populations of leopard frogs.
Amphibians are considered important bioindicators, showing early signs of environmental problems or crises in the ecosystem in which they live, since they are sensitive to pollutants in the water and other factors. So if the frog population of an area is healthy and robust, it’s a good indicator that the rest of that ecosystem is in good shape.
Locally, efforts are being made to help frog populations recover. The Phoenix Zoo has been partnering with Arizona Game and Fish and other agencies to raise Chirichua leopard frogs in captivity from the egg stage through the tadpole stage, and then when they are fully developed, releasing them in areas biologists believe will be good habitat.