British Columbia

B.C. frogs threatened as animal extinctions are on the rise

A recent study out of Mexico found that the rate of extinction of species has rapidly increased in the past century.

Spotted owls and caribou are among endangered species in the province

The Oregon Spotted Frog is the most endangered amphibian in Canada. (CBC)

The Oregon Spotted Frog used to be common in the wetlands around the Fraser Valley but as their habitat turned into farmland, or urban development, the amphibian population declined.

Now the frogs are the most endangered amphibian in Canada.

"The frogs across Canada are declining to the extent that at least three per cent of our known species are extinct," said Monica Pearson, a biologist with Vancouver-based research firm Balance Ecological. "Across the planet 30 per cent are known to be endangered and another 30 per cent are threatened."

The frogs are a sign of the growing numbers of animals that are threatened.

Spotted Owls, killer whales and caribou are among the 1,900 species at risk in B.C., according to the Wilderness Committee.
Spotted Owls and caribou are among the 1,900 species at risk of disappearing from B.C. (CBC)

Why should you care?

"Each time we lose a species we lose some of the connectivity between the ecosystems," Pearson said. "We lose the elasticity in the ecosystems and it's more likely to break and no longer support us as humans."

Mexican study

And it's not just a problem in Canada. Last week a study from the National Autonomous University of Mexico found extinction rates are rapidly increasing.

In the past, two out of every 10,000 species were expected to disappear every 100 years. The Mexican study found the rates are now 100 times larger.

Around the world there have been about 500 animal extinctions in the past century. 

Gwen Barlee, a spokesperson for the Wilderness Committee, said most people don't realise how many animals are threatened.

"Most people are astonished to find out that in B.C. we have 1,900 species at risk," she said, adding that the province has no endangered species law.

-With files from Deborah Goble


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