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R.I.P.-bit? The dismal fate of frogs in Quebec

Southern Quebec only has about 11 native species. Of these, one--the western chorus frog--is already on the endangered list (for Quebec).

At least one more species will probably join it on the list of "Most Likely to Not Make it to 2018".
But why should you care? Aren't frogs yucky and noisy?
Umm hmm.
But a world without frogs is also a world with a gazillion more bugs in it. Particularly mosquitoes. And that means more West Nile.
They're also full of amazing substances; and whether or not you feel that humans have the right to exploit them for it, frogs are often used in lab research aimed at finding cures to human ailments.

Of course, there's a reason the conservationists have singled out the frog to be the mascot of their efforts to protect biodiversity. That's because frogs are the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Because they're amphibious (live on both land and water) and because they breathe through their skin (60% exchange of gases), they're particularly susceptible to pollution and climate change. And when frogs start dying, we'd better sit up and take notice.
Like now.

What's killing Quebec's frogs?
Frogs live in marshes and grasslands. Those nice wide expanses that bring a beady twinkle to a developer's eye. The St Lawrence Valley is being developed so much that frogs have precious little land left. Plus, an African fungus called "chytrid" is killing frog populations at an alarming rate. Nearly 80% of the frogs in a population with Chyrtid will die within a year.

So what can you do?
1. Go to an amphibian exhibit near you. Take your friends, parents, spouse and kids.
Six zoos and aquariums across Quebec have teamed up to launch their "Year of the Frog" exhibits and education programs. Every time you sign up and buy a ticket, you contribute to precious in-field research that helps conservationists guage the extent of the damage and recommend steps that we can take.
Plus it's FUN! (Trust me, after holding one of these marvelous creatures, you'll never see them as slimy and unloveable again).
You can find more information at any of these websites:
http://www.ecomuseum.ca/
http://www.biodome.qc.ca/
http://www.sepaq.com/paq/en/
http://www.parcsafari.com/home.php
http://www.borealie.org/page.php/en
http://www.zoodegranby.com/en/accueil.htm

2. Kiss some frogs. I'm KIDDING (It's probably not good for them anyway). Raise awareness: Try to see past the ugly, wart-ridden surface to the princes of nature that lurk beneath. Frogs are an important part of the balance. They eat insects and are eaten by birds and small mammals. If the frogs go, it's a pretty slippery slope for the rest of us.

3. Give money or volunteer with a local conservation project. There are many amazing groups and committed individuals who are working very hard to help our little hoppy friends. Help them.

4. Attend and be vocal at meetings with developers and policy makers. Let them know that you feel strongly about protecting your green spaces.

Let me ask you something...
How do you feel about frogs? Were you aware of this issue before this story broke? Would you take your kids or go with friends to a zoo or aquarium? If you go-- get your kids to write me (and send pictures) and explain how they felt?
I'd love that.

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Comments (1)

Marie Jacquelyne

Ste_Agathe_des_Monts

I just love frogs. I love to hear them croaking away.
The frog is very important to our enviroment and yes, we better take notice when the frogs are dying because it means that we are also breathing through our skin and are we not dying more in cities where there is smog?

Like Montreal, it is said that people live 5 years less than people living outside the city and more women have breast cancer.

Guess what I did? I moved!

I don't see why people say frogs are ugly! They are not, they are cute!

Posted March 2, 2008 11:40 AM

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