Puerto Rican Crested Toad, © John Kast
Frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and caecilians are going extinct. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that at least one-third of known amphibian species are threatened with extinction, a rate higher than that for any birds or mammals. Major threats to amphibians include habitat loss or degradation and the rapidly dispersing infectious disease chytridiomycosis. Managed populations of amphibians may become the only conservation hope for many species faced with imminent extinction.
AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, with their demonstrated expertise in Species Survival Plan© (SSP) Programs, have been called upon to meet this challenge. Once common across Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican crested toad (Peltophryne lemur) was driven nearly to extinction by human activities. In 1982, under the auspices of the AZA Amphibian Taxonomic Advisory Group (TAG), the Puerto Rican Crested Toad SSP Program began a reintroduction program to successfully breed and release this species into its native habitat. Since then, the Wyoming Toad SSP, Panamanian Golden Frog SSP, Mississippi Gopher Frog PMP, Houston Toad PMP, and Texas Blind Cave Salamander PMP Programs have been established to enhance amphibian conservation efforts.
AZA also provides conservation and education resources, subsidizes financial support, manages a citizen science program, and maintains partnerships with like-minded government and non-government agencies to raise awareness of the amphibian crisis and promote amphibian conservation.
Amphibian Conservation and Education Resources
The AZA Amphibian TAG provides discussion forums for amphibian husbandry, veterinary care, and ethical issues, recommends amphibian species for AZA studbooks and SSP Programs, establishes management, research, and conservation priorities for these species, and develops resources to help AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums develop successful, sustainable, and strategic amphibian conservation and education programs. Numerous resources have been developed including those that address amphibian population planning, the latest research and conservation news, and educational activities and materials. Read more about Amphibian Conservation and Education Resources.
Amphibian Conservation Grants Fund
The AZA Conservation Grants Fund (CGF) subsidized an Amphibian Fund from 2008-2010 which supported the cooperative amphibian-related conservation, scientific, and educational initiatives of AZA, its members, and its collaborators. Read more about projects funded by the CGF.
FrogWatch USA is an AZA's flagship citizen science program by which volunteers collect and enter vital information into the online database. This information is combined with that of thousands of other FrogWatch USA volunteers across the United States and then analyzed to provide essential information needed to develop environmental protection and amphibian conservation strategies. Read more about FrogWatch USA.
Member and Partner Amphibian Conservation Initiatives
AZA's accredited zoos and aquariums and partners work together to address crucial amphibian conservation issues in specific regional and global areas. Read more about AZA Member and Partner Conservation Initiatives.