Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Amphibians are to the planet the equivalent of what canaries are (or were?) to miners: they send us vital signals which -- if we interpret them well -- tell us humans if we stand a chance and for how long.
Amphibians have been the first successful vertebrates to emerge 350 million years ago on the terrestrial environement. And they are still present on every continent, except Antarctica, as icons of biodiversity.
But they're in deep trouble, the Global Amphibean Assessment tells us. Already 129 amphibian species are gone since 1980, and one third of the world species are under threat ! Habitat degradation/destruction and climate chaos are among the causes, together with chemical contamination, invasive species, over-harvesting, and a fungal disease that is spreading worldwide.
A IUCN Specialist Group meeting this week in Washington DC say they need 400 US $ to protect amphibians.