Amphibian Populations Decline
Over the years, there has been a global outcry on the increasing amphibian populations decline. Today, it is estimated that about a third or half of the total amphibian population is under threat of extinction, with more than 120 already wiped out in the recent years. According to the IUCN Global Amphibian Assessment, hundreds of species are facing the threats that cannot be eliminated in the wild. Instead, they require zoos in order to prolong their lives until adequate conservation measures are put in place.
A series of studies have been conducted on the global decline of amphibian populations, and many prove that indeed, the species is on the way to extinction. In fact, it is reported that 32% of the entire amphibian populations including frogs, toads, and salamanders among others will be swept away from the face of the earth in a few years. This species is instrumental in the food chain and its disappearance would have greater impacts on the ecosystem.
Amphibians are important in the regulation of the food chains, without which there could be an uncontrollable number of insects causing harm to plants and humans as well. They play a critical role in preventing the multiplication of insects like those causing malaria and ancephalitis. Besides, some amphibians also act as sources of food for humans and animals.
Causes of Global Amphibian Populations Decline
Generally, there is no single cause of the global amphibian populations decline, instead, interactions between several factors. These factors may vary based on the location, species and entire population. The following are some of the main causes of the decline in amphibian populations.
Destruction of habitats
With the increasing human population, there is a continuous destruction of habitats for many amphibians. In fact, it is estimated that man has changed between a third and half the surface of planet earth. Some of the main human activities that lead to destruction of habitats include agriculture and forestry. Road works and mining operations have also been identified as destructive factors to not only the habitats but also amphibians.
Many amphibians, especially frogs have varied tolerance for acidic or polluted water. Although some can tolerate acidic water for long, it is generally not good for their health and may lead to the death of quite a number. Acidity of ponds where most amphibians live may be through rainfall, which is even much stronger.
Pollution can also be caused by organic herbicides, exhaust gases among other agents.
Changes in Climate
The global climatic changes can have direct or indirect impacts on the amphibian populations. For instance, global warming alters environmental factors like temperature, which is critical to the timing of breeding for many amphibians.
Indirectly, adverse climatic conditions may impair the immune capabilities of amphibians making them vulnerable to infections.
Other causes of decline in the populations of amphibian
The following are additional causes of the global amphibian populations decline;
- Changes in the environment such as effects of Ultra Violet Radiation
- Overexploitation of amphibians as a source of food
- Predators, invasive species and diseases
- Increase in trade of amphibians as pets
How to address the Amphibian Populations Decline
Various measures have been proposed and even implemented by different states and agencies to stem the significant decline in populations of amphibians across the globe. The following are some of them;
- Identification and registration of amphibians into care centers and zoos, starting with the ones bearing the greatest threat of extinction.
- Regulation of human activity to ensure that ecosystems where these species thrive are protected and safe guarded.
- Tougher laws on the harvesting and trade on extinct amphibian species.
- Call to action so many can be educated on the benefits of conserving amphibian populations.
Although most of the causes of decline in amphibian population may not be effectively addressed on a global scale, the greatest mitigation lies on individual responsibility. Simple acts like conservation of the environment can go a long way in ensuring the safety and continuity of amphibian species in different habitats. Besides, more people still need to be educated on the dangers of the increasing global amphibian populations decline.
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