Over the past few years there has been a decline in frog populations. Only now are people starting to care about what’s going on. You may be surprised, but there really are many reasons to save this special species. But before we can save them we need to understand more about them, and what the cause of their depletion at such an alarming rate is. Some people may ask “Who cares about frogs? ” Well, one of the reasons is that they are an important part of our ecology. They prey on insects and other pests, keeping them from overpopulating and ruining various habitats.
They are also an important source of food to other animals such as birds, snakes, and other mammals. If you take them out of the food chain you could cause serious imbalance in the ecosystem and therefore cause the decline in other populations of other organisms. This circle of life is precious and fragile, and must be preserved. It has been said that frogs are a measure of the environment’s health. Frogs are natural survivors. They lived through the last two extinction episodes including, the end of the dinosaur era. So something is terribly wrong for them to be dying off now.
It is similar to the practice of keeping canaries in a mineshaft. If the shaft or world starts getting polluted then the canaries or frogs will start dying off, therefore sen! ding a warning signal. Like a shock wave it will ripple across the world leaving a disturbance throughout its path. Who’s to say that we might someday be next (Gibbons 1)? Another reason to care for frogs is for biomedical research. Just like lab rats, they are tested for the use of many chemicals, disease research, and plain anatomy and physiology lessons, not to mention to gain knowledge of their population decline.
If they were to suddenly vanish, we would not be completely sure of the cause. Hopefully, we can find out the reasons why they’re dying. Maybe then we can correct the problem and save the frogs as well as the environment (*http:www. open. ac. uh/daptf/DAPTF. Matter. html*). One of the suspected causes of frog depletion is water contamination by toxic chemicals such as thallium, iron, and manganese. A Canadian survey of coal miners and coal generating stations showed that water samples contained very high concentrations of thallium and manganese.
And from that study it was concluded that these chemicals are strong environmental pollutants. Many of the primary pollutant effects are wetland loss and degradation (National Water Research Institute). Between the mid-1970’s and the mid-1980’s, approximately 4. 4 million acres of inland freshwater wetlands and about 71,000 acres of coastal wetlands were destroyed. You can just imagine how many species of frogs were destroyed within a decade (Dahl and Johnson). Take for example Kentucky and Ohio.
They have lost more than 80 percent of their original wetlands, and California has lost nearly 99 percent of its original wetlands. That is just tragic, that a state has nearly lost all of their wetlands.! And that is only one state. The problem could grow and go national, even worldwide. Now seriousness of this issue starts to hit home (USEPA 1995). Other causes that have been observed are that of non-native plants and animals. I remember seeing an animal introduced into a different habitat, to which that animal had no predators.
An animal will thrive to become an overpopulated species and destroy the environment. It is possible. Take for example, the water hyacinth. This species is known for its ability to extract nutrients from water. It is possible for a water hyacinth to rapidly fill a wetland and become a threat to water quality (National Water Research Institute). Carp that were introduced into recreational fishing areas increased the turbidity of the water. This ran other species, such as frogs, out of the water (Mitsch and Bosselinh 1993).
Viruses, another cause, are always killers when they become wide spread. In 1989, a researcher at Townsville James Coon University collected local frogs for general research. Within days, for no visible reason, they all started dying off. When they started their detective work, they found the killer to be a highly infectious virus. It was the Bahle Virus. Researchers could not find a source, because by the time they picked up a dead frog the virus had been long dead as well. They tested how long the virus took to kill, and found that from the day of injection, it took 7 days for them to die.
They would then tend to become anemic and waste away (Mitchell, Campbell, and Jones). It seems that the biggest problem yet, is the overpopulation of human beings. We are slowly destroying many habitats, along with the animals that belong in those habitats. As we grow in size we tend to destroy environments to make room for more people. They could be classified as non-native predators. But unlike other predators, we pollute our own environment at the same time creating new disease (USEPA 1994). Maybe the frogs are an indication of our global health.
It happens slowly at first, with only a little useless frog, but the little useless frog isn’t the issue here. It’s what we are going to do about the frog. Are we going to let him go no questions asked? Or are we going to further investigate this issue and see what can be learned from it. If we let things disappear this easily, we might as well start planning a different kind of lifestyle. One without the pleasures of being able to see first hand the creatures of this planet, and one with over population! to the point of extinction of all life (Mitchell, Campbell, and Jones).