Save frogs in N.B. bogs, biologist says

CBC NEWS

New Brunswick should be doing more to protect frogs in bogs and wetlands, according to one biologist.

“Most people don’t realize that frogs are facing an extinction crisis worldwide,” Greg Jongsma said. “Where one-third of amphibians are facing extinction.”

Amphibians have been around for 350 million years, the first land vertebrate to come out of the water, and have managed to survive the last four extinction events.

But now they’re disappearing, according to Jongsma.

He said humans can be blamed in the declining populations.

By shipping frogs all over the world, disease can be spread such as waterborne chytrid, a potentially lethal skin disease for frogs.

People have also taken away frogs’ habitat, he said.

However, in New Brunswick, amphibian populations — of which there are 16 species — are still doing quite well. The numbers are strong, but Jongsma said it’s not something to be taken for granted.

Saturday is International Save the Frogs Day.

“The purpose of it is just to raise public awareness about this crisis, this extinction event that is happening right before our eyes,” Jongsma said.

The Nature Trust of New Brunswick will be leading frog walks Saturday in Fredericton’s Hyla Nature Preserve Park, Canada’s first amphibian preserve.

The park is named for the scientific name of the grey tree frog — Hyla versicolor.

Jongsma said he believes more could be done to help the frogs’ survival, but he said raising awareness and appreciation is a good step.

“Then I think policy will reflect what we care about,” he said.

He said his passion for amphibians began as a child.

“A lot of kids spend time in the swamps, I just never stopped going,” he chuckled.

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