Saturday, 24 September 2011

Online Dating Saves Endangered Frogs (Via HerpDigest)

Press, 8/18/11

It is said that 1 in 5 new relationships now begins online. Amphibian Ark (AArk) asks, Why should people have all the fun? The global not-for-profit has launched a website called frogs find their princes ( to facilitate relationships between potential sponsors and start-up amphibian conservation projects in need of resources. Assistance may be in the form of funding, specialized staff or training skills, or in-kind support in the way of equipment and supplies.

Amphibians need help because they are one of the most imperiled groups of living organisms. "For every one species of bird or mammal in trouble, there are two to three amphibian species on the brink of extinction" said Kevin Zippel, AArk Program Director. "The current amphibian extinction crisis is reminiscent of the disappearance of the dinosaurs, making it one of the greatest conservation challenges in the history of humanity."

"This web site currently includes 48 projects in 23 countries on three continents and can be searched by country, region, species, funding amount required, and by project type" said Kevin Johnson, AArk Communications Officer. "You can also browse new projects that have been added in the last 30 days or projects that have been added in the last 60 days. Using, donors have been able to easily locate amphibian conservation projects that are a good match with their organizations' missions, and provide appropriate support, to ensure the success of these vital programs."

Amphibians are important because they often play a keystone role in ecosystems, are indicators of environmental health, and they lead to discoveries of new medical compounds, including a substance that blocks the transmission of HIV.

A great example of a program that has benefited from is the Lake Titicaca Frog Rescue Program in Peru. Thanks to the support from the Denver Zoo, the Cayetano Heredia University in Lima has established a rescue population of this Critically Endangered Frog. "If it weren't for the matchmaking work of the AArk, we probably would not have known about this project" said Tom Weaver, Area Supervisor of Tropical Discovery at the zoo.

The Amphibian Ark is tracking ~100 rescue programs run by partners around the world. However, it estimates that a total of 900-1000 species require rescue to stave off imminent extinction. aims to help those species not currently in rescue programs.

Amphibian Ark was founded in 2006 by the IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, the IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Its mission is facilitating partnerships that ensure the global survival of amphibians, focusing on those that cannot currently be safeguarded in nature. For more information, please visit

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