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The Great Amphibian Study. Almost half of the species are at risk of extinction

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Human activity, disease and climate change are taking their toll on animal populations. According to a new international study, as many as 41 percent of amphibians are on the verge of extinction. The analysis revealed that at least four species of these animals have become extinct in the last 19 years.

Amphibians living on Earth are suffering more and more. Due to habitat destruction, disease and climate change, as many as 41 percent of these animals are at risk of extinction. These are the conclusions of a new study published this Wednesday in the journal Nature. An international team consisting of over a thousand experts analyzed over 8,000 species of amphibians – inhabiting both aquatic and terrestrial habitats.

The first such research in years

These are the first such analyzes since 2004. It turns out that the condition of amphibians is much worse now than 19 years ago. At that time, scientists believed that 39 percent of species were on the verge of extinction.

However, it is not only the situation of amphibians that is very difficult. 27% are also at risk of extinction. mammals, 21 percent reptiles and 13 percent birds.

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– For the most part, the identification of protected areas and their conservation planning is focused on the needs of mammals and birds. Amphibians fare the worst, said one of the project coordinators, conservationist Jennifer Luedtke from the Texas-based nonprofit Re:wild.

Four species are extinct

Amphibians appeared in the world over 300 million years ago. These include salamanders and newts (60% at risk of extinction), frogs and toads (39% at risk) and caecilians (16%).

“We need a global movement to accelerate the recovery of amphibian populations around the world,” said Kelsey Neam, a conservationist and co-author of the study.

Since 2004, four species of amphibians have become completely extinct – two species of frogs from Australia and Guatemala, salamanders from Guatemala and toads from Costa Rica. They also reported that 185 species are “probably extinct,” but their population figures are unknown.

The greatest threats were considered to be the destruction and degradation of habitats, caused mainly by farming and cultivation. It was estimated that as many as 93% suffer from these causes. all endangered amphibian species. However, it turns out that diseases and climate change also play an important role.

“Amphibians are particularly sensitive to changes in their environment, in part because they breathe through their skin,” Neam said. – Thus, the effects of climate change – increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, changes in humidity and temperature, sea level rise and wildfires – may result in the loss of key breeding sites, increased mortality, as well as habitat degradation and change. [Czynniki te – przyp. red.] make it difficult for amphibians to find suitable places to live, she added.

Global animal extinctionPAP/AFP/Adam Ziemienowicz

“Allies in understanding the state of our planet”

Although the pandemic of chytridiomycosis, a fungal skin disease that prevailed among amphibians, has already ended, there is a risk that another pathogen will emerge and decimate populations. The study also cited ongoing threats from the animal trade and hunting for food.

The analysis showed that the largest concentrations of endangered amphibians occur on the Caribbean islands, Sri Lanka and Madagascar, as well as in Mexico, Central America, the tropical Andes region, India, Cameroon and Nigeria.

“Amphibians are our allies in understanding the state of our planet,” Luedtke said. – By protecting and restoring amphibian species, we protect and restore land and water ecosystems, care for the Earth’s genetic diversity and invest in a future in which all life develops – including human life – she concluded.

Animals protected in PolandMaciej ZieliƄski/PAP

Main photo source: weather

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