posted October 15, 2004 10:51 AM
Amphibians on the verge of extinction
According to the first global assessment of amphibians, disease, climat e change and habitat loss are threatening one-third of the world's fragile species of frogs, toads, newts and salamanders.
The results of the survey, published today in the journal Science, show that 1,856 of the known 5,743 species are "globally threatened" in their forest, stream or underground homes.
The delicate creatures, which have thin, porous skins and need fresh water to stay moist, are faring much worse around the world than either birds or mammals, the scientists say. Around a tenth of bird species and a quarter of mammal species are threatened, reports San Francisco Chronicle.
According to New Kerala, the scientist explain that amphibians will be the first ones to get affected because they have very sensitive skins but sooner or later even humans will have to face up to the environmental changes.
It was found that of all 5,743 known amphibian species, 1,856 or 32 per cent are threatened with extinction, as opposed to 12 per cent of all bird species and 23 per cent of all mammal species that are threatened.
The researchers, however, were not able to explain exactly what the cause for their extinction would be or how it can be stopped.
At least nine amphibian species had disappeared since 1980, when the most dramatic declines began.
More than 500 scientists from more than 60 nations contributed to the Global Amphibian Assessment, the first worldwide audit of amphibian populations.
The discovery, reported in the journal Science, is seen by experts as a possible early warning of impending environmental disaster because amphibians- their highly permeable skin makes them sensitive to the effects of climate change and pollution, informs Scotsman. http://newsfromrussia.com/science/2004/10/15/56638.html
Their catastrophic decline serves as a warning that we are in a period of significant environmental degradation http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3743682.stm
Russell Mittermeier, Conservation International