This time, it is not good to be a leader

Atelopus varius

Atelopus varius is just one of many species of frog that is critically endangered. (Photo by Brian Gratwicke, Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project).

Chytrid fungus is believed to have played a role in the disappearance of 94 of the 120 frog species thought to have gone extinct since 1980.  But that is not the only battle frogs are facing in the fight to survive.

No one issue can explain all of the population declines that are occurring at an unprecedented rate, and much faster in amphibians than most other animals, the scientists conclude in a study just published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

The totality of these changes leads these researchers to believe that the Earth is now in a major extinction episode similar to five other mass extinction events in the planet’s history. And amphibians are leading the field – one estimate indicates they are disappearing at more than 200 times that of the average extinction rate.

In this case, it is not good to be the leader.

Cindy Hoffman, Defenders of Wildlife