Leap Day is the perfect day to jump on the Year of the Frog bandwagon. All over the world, people will be joining in to take notice that something is going terribly wrong for many of these amphibians. What’s killing them? What’s causing the major decline? Why is it so bad in the tropics? What does it mean for us in more temperate places like Missouri?
The Missouri Department of Conservation has been studying Missouri frogs for more than 25 years. Frogs are just one small piece of the nature puzzle, but you can’t complete the picture without them. As I mentioned in an earlier blogpost, the idea behind “Year of the Frog” relates to zoos that are considering creation of an “Amphibian Ark,” a place to protect and grow wild frogs until we can figure out what’s killing them.
Missourians are fortunate to have several zoos that are part of this effort. Dr. Jeffrey Bonner, director of the St. Louis Zoo, is one leader in this. I suspect many Missourians don’t know that the one-eighth of one percent they pay in all sales tax goes to support the Missouri Department of Conservation. And a small part of that money has supported hiring of a herpetologist, who in turn helps to conserve these and other native animals.
There are so many problems (disease and habitat loss being two big ones) for frogs that there’s not one simple solution. But as we move ahead with more people on the planet in general and where we live particular, it’s time to jump on the conservation bandwagon.
As part of our Year of the Frog, I’ll highlight a different Missouri frog each month beginning in March. Right now, though, you can stop by our Missouri Conservation Nature Centers for frog information or see our new toads and frogs brochure online.