In 18 countries around the world, biologists are setting out what may be fruitless quests. Conservation International is sponsoring expeditions to seek 40 amphibian species that haven’t been spotted for over a decade, and that may well be extinct. The group hopes its “Search for Lost Frogs” project will draw attention to the plight of amphibians, which are threatened by fungal diseases, toxic chemicals, habitat loss, and climate change–some researchers even say the global population decline is a sign that the world’s sixth mass extinction event is underway.
Dr Robin Moore, of Conservation International, a US-based charity, said: “This role as the global ‘canary in a coalmine’ means that the rapid and profound change to the global environment that has taken place over the last 50 years or so – in particular climate change and habitat loss – has had a devastating impact on these incredible creatures.” [The Guardian]
Still, the biologists hope they’ll find that some of these 40 species are still hanging on. “Although there is no guarantee of success,” Conservation International said in a press release, “scientists are optimistic about the prospect of at least one rediscovery.”
The group also compiled a list of the 10 “most wanted” species. Photo gallery after the jump.
80beats: Frog Species Are Hopping Into Extinction Before They’re Even Discovered
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80beats: Salamanders Are Quietly Vanishing From Central American Cloud Forests
DISCOVER: Are Frogs Hopping Straight Into Extinction?
DISCOVER: 10 Studies That Revealed the Great Global Amphibian Die-Off–and Some Possible Solutions
Images: Conservation International