Everyone loves frogs (apart from the ranidaphobics) and the recent rain in areas of the Northern Rivers has set little froggy throats alight with song, just in time for World Frog Day.
March 20 is World Frog Day, a day to celebrate and raise awareness about these amazing creatures and the challenges they face and their ecological importance.
Did you know, Australia is home to 230 species of frogs?
Frogs occupy a huge range of habitats and environmental niches. The diversity among frogs is quite incredible, but one thing they all share is their sensitivity the quality of their environment. This attribute is what makes frogs such vital environmental indicators – if the places they inhabit become degraded and polluted, or are altered by a rapidly changing climate, frogs are among the first to be impacted.
According to the Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) in recent decades frog species have faced alarming extinction rates. Habitat destruction, the spread of the deadly chytrid fungus, and a fast changing climate are all major factors that have contributed to the devastating mass extinctions. Many remaining species are vulnerable and endangered, occurring only in tiny patches of remnant habitat and are dangerously close to being lost forever like so many others who have disappeared before them.
A quick look at the Red List shows that there are dozens of vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species – so now more than ever frogs and the environment they depend on need protecting, so, what can we do to help?
WIRES say be mindful of what you use around the home and garden: many of the chemicals we use make their way into our waterways and can be deadly to frogs and tadpoles. Forgoing the use of nasty chemicals or using environmentally friendly alternatives helps frogs and the environment.
Create and restore habitat: planting locally native plants in your own backyard is a great way to help your local frogs and other wildlife will thank you for it too. Get involved with a local frog club or landcare project to help restore critical habitat in your local area.
Frogs are brown and bumpy too: did you know? There are 44 species of native frogs found throughout the Northern Rivers region, only eight of these species are green and the remaining 36 are brown, mixed coloured and/or bumpy. Among these 36 native species are many of our most vulnerable frogs, so it’s important to know your native frogs and be sure not to mistake them for cane toads.
Make like a frog and get vocal! Stand up for frogs and the environment they depend on. Write to your local member of parliament to let them know that you want to see changes in policy and law that ensures better protection for our environment. Join a group that campaigns to protect your local wetlands and waterways. Most importantly, share your love of frogs and nature with your friends, family and anyone who will listen!
Happy World Frog Day!