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Asian frogs becoming extinct before they can be identified, - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


from: guardian.co.uk, Fiona Harvey in Jeju, South Korea Scientists fear amphibian destruction will be disastrous, with many species disappearing uncatalogued. Frogs and other amphibians are being wiped out at such a rapid rate across Asia that many are going extinct before scientists even have a chance to identify them as new species, biologists warned at an international conservation meeting in South Korea this week. The scale of the destruction – caused by habitat loss, disease, pollution and other factors – is hard to quantify, but scientists fear the result will be disastrous. Amphibians have been suffering a wave of devastation all around the world, in part because of the spread of the fungal disease Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, known as BD or chytrid fungus, which has wiped out whole populations within the space of a few years. But while conservation and monitoring efforts have so far focused on the Americas and Europe, little work has yet been done in the world's most populous continent, with the result that many amphibian species there are as yet uncatalogued and unstudied. For instance, according to one researcher, there are probably at least three to four times as many amphibian species in India alone as are currently catalogued. Frogs and other amphibians are among the most threatened creatures in the world today – globally, at least a third, probably 40%, of amphibian species are in urgent danger of extinction, making a total of more than 2,000 species of amphibian so far documented to be officially "threatened", "endangered" or "vulnerable", classifications used by scientists to describe the level of threat. "This is higher than any other terrestrial animal," said Jaime García-Moreno, executive director of the Amphibian Survival Alliance. The plight of frogs and other amphibians is of particular concern to scientists because many think the devastation afflicting them could be a foretaste of that in waiting for other creatures. Their physiognomy

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