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Amphibians, the hopping pharmacies

Although sometimes difficult to see and find, amphibians are beautiful animals. Many frogs and salamanders are true jewels of the forest with their intriguing colors. But they are also extremely sensitive barometers of environmental health and their disappearance would have dramatic consequences for species that share the same ecosystems -including people.

 

The permeable skin of amphibians makes them susceptible to changes in the environment, but also arms them with significant biomedical properties. A painkiller isolated in the skin of a frog is 200 times more potent than morphine. Potential treatments for HIV and skin cancer have been isolated from the skin of amphibians. Amphibians also regulate crop pests and vectors of disease such as malaria. If we do not act quickly, we risk losing many similar benefits before they are even discovered.

 

Not to mention their incalculable role in human cultures, from classical literature to fairy tales, and the aesthetic worth of their bright colors and melodic calls.

Most threatened group of vertebrates

Many of us are aware of the current extinction crisis facing flagship species such as the tiger or panda, what many of us ignore, however, is the fact that a less popular and less known group of animals, Amphibians (which include frogs, toads, salamanders and the lesser-known caecilians), are the most threatened vertebrates in the world. They are in an especially dire situation, suffering the double-jeopardy of exceptionally high levels of threat coupled with low levels of conservation effort.

Over 6,200 species have been identified; of those 41% are at risk of extinction, almost half in decline and more than 100 species possibly extinct according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Major threats include habitat loss and a fungus that causes chytridomycosis, an infectious disease.

IUCN`s Amphibian Specialist Group

The IUCN-SSC Amphibian Specialist Group is a global network of dedicated experts who donate their time and expertise to create a community from where practical amphibian conservation can be advanced based on a solid foundation of science. This global network consists of over 600 members in over 40 Regions/Countries enabling the ASG to act on a global scale.

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SOS - Save Our Species
>> A global coalition to conserve threatened species and their habitats