A Solomon Island leaf frog perches on a caregiver's finger. Amphibian species around the world are facing an ongoing conservation crisis.
You may have heard by now that amphibian populations, including frogs, are in sharp declines around the world. There are more than 7,000 species of amphibians; of that number, more than 30 percent are currently threatened. 168 species are believed to have gone extinct in just the last 20 years.
Their plight should be a wake-up call to all of us. Pollution, habitat loss, climate change, newly emerging diseases…yikes! The scariest part is that all these threats to frogs are also threats to our health and well-being.
Wasn’t it Kermit that said, “It’s not easy being green”? He’s right. It means making sacrifices so we can all benefit in the long run, including frogs. What can we do? Start with little things: turn off the lights when you leave a room, fix that leaky faucet, use a mulch mower so you can cut back on the amount of fertilizer you need to use. Better yet dig up some of that lawn and plant a native garden.
Cut back on the amounts of chemicals we use—is that ant mound in your backyard really hurting anything? (That one is for my husband :).) Plant a tree, create a pond in your backyard. Ride a bike. Set up a rain barrel. A compost bin. The list goes on and on.
I hope that all of you reading this take the time to make one healthy change for our environment. As you do it, know in the back of your mind that it was a frog that made you do it and then smile.
Diane Mulkerin is curator of Regenstein Small Mammal¬–Reptile House, the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo and the Antelope & Zebra Area.