Zoos Leap Into Year of Frog

Activists bring attention to decline of amphibians
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2008 9:23 AM CST
This undated handout photo provided by the University of Colorado shows a deformed frog. The growing number of deformed frogs in recent years is caused at least partly by runoff from farming and ranching,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – How could any zoo resist? Leap Day, in the Year of the Frog, is being celebrated by zoos and conservationists everywhere as the perfect time to draw attention to the plight of amphibians. "We want to get people talking about frogs and thinking about them," said one zookeeper. "But the main thing we want them to understand is that the frogs in their back yard are really, really important.” 

Frogs and other amphibians have suffered declines due to habitat loss, pesticides, and fungal infections in recent decades. Amphibians are especially susceptible to environmental changes because their skin is so permeable; a third are threatened with extinction. Scientists value them for research, and anyone can appreciate the need to protect species that eat disease-carrying insects.