Why should we care?

  • Amphibians are among the oldest organisms on earth, having survived the last five mass extinctions.
  • They play a tremendous role in ecological studies due to their ability to act as bio-indicators, representing climate change and environmental stress.
  • They are a tremendous ecological asset due to their ability to act as both predator and prey, thereby maintaining a balance of nature.
  • Amphibians are found to be very useful for agricultural purposes due to their ability to act as a biological pest controlling agents.
  • They can help control the spread of diseases, such a malaria, by controlling the population of vectors such as mosquitos. 
  • Compounds derived from amphibian skin offers a promising pathway towards new medicinal discoveries.
  • Amphibians have played an important role in human culture, from religion to fables and traditional medicine.

The numbers

  • 122 amphibian species have become extinct in the last 25 years.
  • The current rate of amphibian extinction is 211 times the background amphibian extinction rate.
  • One-third of the world’s 6,000 amphibian species are under threat of extinction.
  • 427 of the world’s amphibian species are listed as Critically Endangered by The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • 38 species that are classified as Extinct in the most recent Red List are indigenous to Asia.
  • 21 of these species are native to Sri Lanka.

Threats faced

Habitat loss destroys the ecological balance of amphibian communities and represents the most critical threat to amphibians worldwide. These threats are compounded by:

  • Human encroachment into their habitats
  • Climate change
  • Pollution and pesticides
  • Introduced species
  • Over-exploitation for food and pet trade

In recent years a new threat has developed - Chytridiomycosis - a previously unknown pathogenic killer fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) that is now spreading rapidly worldwide and depleting amphibian populations.

Learn more

Web pages here contain specific information on amphibian hotspot countries in the Asia region.  Please explore these pages.  There is also important actions that you or your organization can get involved in. To learn more, visit the section on taking action.