NZ Frogs – From endangered to extinct in a blink of a greedy eye!
In the Year of the Frog Archey’s frog was awarded the dubious honour of being named the World’s most evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered amphibian – this means it’s the most Important Amphibian in the World
That’s no.1 in a pool of over 6600 species of amphibians worldwide. At the recent World Congress of Herpetology in Brazil we were congratulated for the amazing work that had been conducted on conserving these ancient and unique species of frogs.
We are clearly leading the field when it comes to frog conservation. However, the recent stocktake of Schedule 4 and the proposed mining will change all this. The areas to be mined include several long-term frog monitoring sites where the frog populations have been continually monitored for over 40 years – this represents the best data on frog populations anywhere in the world.
In addition the proposed mining area includes the ‘type’ locality of Archey’s frog (the area where the first individual that described the species was caught). Archey’s frogs only occur in two areas of New Zealand and the Coromandel is considered the ‘stronghold’ population.
During the Year of the Frog I became known as the “Frog-talk prostitute”, going anywhere at anytime to give a presentation on how special our frogs are (as long as my costs were covered). Now I’m going to re-invent myself as the “Save our frogs – stop the mining” prostitute as this really is the biggest issue in New Zealand conservation – of course saving the long-tailed bat, woodroses and a couple of kiwi along the way is important too!
I have often seen ‘activists’ getting so worked up about issues that they chain themselves to a tree or to a digger and have felt that it was more of a political statement than anything else – but if this mining proposal goes ahead then I’ll be there, with my chains, ready to stop any mining that will destroy the frogs’ habitat.
These frogs are just hanging in there and without our help they will disappear. If we destroy their habitat then we will quickly lose a part of one of the most important pieces of New Zealand history as well as a large piece of the amphibian evolutionary tree. We have a moral obligation to protect these original inhabitants of New Zealand – the little people of the forest.