Half of Europe's Frog Species May Croak
Habitat loss, climate change, disease likely to wipe out amphibian species
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2008 3:49 AM CDT
A frog chills in one of the vivariums of France's Besancon Natural History Museum.   (Getty Images (by Event) Individuals)
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(Newser) – Half of all of Europe's amphibian species could be doomed to extinction within the next few decades, scientists warn. Habitat loss and climate change are already wiping out huge numbers of frogs, toads, newts and salamanders, the Independent reports. The situation has been exacerbated by a skin disease that has spread around the globe, devastating amphibian populations.

The outlook is bleakest in southern Europe, but even common British species are in trouble as milder winters mean they emerge from hibernation early, only to starve. "Amphibians are the lifeblood of many environments, playing key roles in the functions of ecosystems," said esteemed naturalist Sir David Attenborough. "It is both extraordinary and terrifying that in just a few decades the world could lose half of all these species."