Amphibian Crisis, Amphibian Ark and the 2008 Year of the Frog Campaign

17 October 2007 | News story

Earth is facing its largest mass extinction since the disappearance of the dinosaurs. From one-third to one-half of the planet’s 6,000 amphibian species – frogs and toads, salamanders and newts, and caecilians, which have thrived for 360 million years – are in danger of extinction.

To mitigate this crisis, the world’s leading conservationists have joined together to form the Amphibian Ark, naming 2008 “The Year of the Frog”, in hopes of raising both awareness and the critical funding needed to address the crisis.

The Amphibian Ark (AArk) is a joint partnership and was founded to carry out the ‘captive’ components of the Amphibians Conservation Action Plan (ACAP). AArk’s three principal partners are:

IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG)
IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG)
World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA)

AArk will develop, promote, and guide short term captive management of threatened amphibians, making possible the long-term survival of species for which adequate protection in the wild is not currently possible. Captive management is a vital component of ACAP’s integrated conservation effort, buying valuable time to mitigate threats for species that would otherwise go extinct.

AArk will support the rescue priority amphibian species and bring them into “protective custody” in dedicated biosecure facilities at zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, research centers, and other institutions around the world for safekeeping and breeding, helping to ensure the long term survival of amphibians. These rescued amphibians will be released back into the wild when the original threats have been controlled.