Photo: The wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) is one of the first species to arrive at wetlands and call in the northern United States. ©Rachel Gauza.
AZA-Accredited Zoos and Aquariums “Spring Forward” for AmphibiansMar 7, 2013
Silver Spring, Maryland (March 7, 2013) - Take advantage of Daylight Savings Time, and "Spring Forward" for amphibians at an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited zoo or aquarium near you.
"Amphibians are facing an extinction crisis, and zoos and aquariums are in a unique position to help save them," said Dr.Paul Boyle, AZA's Senior Vice President of Conservation and Education. "By visiting your local AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium and participating in their citizen science volunteer programs, you can help frogs and protect your local ecosystems."
AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums across the country are presenting special events and activities to "spring forward" into raising awareness about amphibian conservation. Events include live encounters with amphibians, informative amphibian exhibits,programs on "frog friendly" backyards, zookeeper talks about amphibian ecosystems, crafts, contests, games, prizes, and all kinds of family fun. Find the AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium near you at http://www.aza.org/findzooaquarium.
Volunteers can also take the opportunity to "spring forward" for the amphibians in their own community through FrogWatch USA™, the AZA's flagship citizen science program. Through this program,people can engage in amphibian conservation by reporting the calls of frogs and toads heard in their community wetlands during the early evening hours. Previously abundant amphibian populations have experienced dramatic population declines in the United States, and the data collected by citizens scientists can help inform conservation and research efforts.
Amphibians play an important role in the health of ecosystems. As a result of habitat destruction, pollution,climatic changes, and other factors, more than 1/3 of the world's amphibian species are facing the largest mass extinction since the dinosaurs. Data collected by FrogWatch USA™ citizen scientists is important in assessing these native frog populations. Information regarding 80 frog and toad species has been reported by volunteers.This accounts for 80% of the frog and toad species found in the United States. Data collected include information about species such as spring peepers, green frogs, American bullfrogs, American toads, gray tree frogs, wood frogs, and others.Listen to the attached audio file to hear spring peepers and wood frogs for yourself!
Observant FrogWatch USA™ volunteers can help scientists understand the scope, geographic scale, and cause of these population declines. The data collected in this nationwide effort may be used to describe local species diversity, detect rare and non-native species, suggest shifts in species diversity, range, and seasonal timing, and inform the development of land management strategies.
To learn more about FrogWatch USA™ and how to get involved,visit http://www.aza.org/frogwatch/. A complete list of more than 80 FrogWatch USA™ chapters is available at http://www.aza.org/become-a-frogwatch-volunteer/. You can also visit FrogWatch USA™ on Facebook and Flickr to post your amphibian photos, stories, and videos.
Additional information about AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums' role in amphibian conservation can also be found in AZA's 2012Amphibian Conservation - Highlights and Accomplishments report now available online at http://www.aza.org/amphibian-news/.
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information,please visit www.aza.org.
AZA Members: Submit your Zoo & Aquarium News