Nature Blog Network Future Earth: Are frogs swans or canaries?

Friday, 26 September 2008

Are frogs swans or canaries?

Serenading frogs led me to slumber almost every night in Africa. But are these evocative calls swansongs for our amphibian friends? The world might have to get used to missing frogs if their decline continues and in this Year of the Frog, venerable Sir Dave is coming to their rescue. In their declining years we might just hope that frogs show the resilience and determination that Attenborough does in his. (As an aside, BBC Radio 4 listeners will note with pleasure that Attenborough is the first interviewee to reduce lookalike Humphreys from a rotweiller to a puppydog). Our concern for frog declines is not altruism - in retreat from loss of habitat and a warming world they are less able to survive attack by pathogens. The loss of frog song could be the miner's canary of the modern world - alerting us to the danger of our own demise. Hang on in there treefrogs - and 82 year old Sir Dave - we need both of you!

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