2008 is the Year of the Frog, and unlike the Year of the Potato (it's that too) this designation is likely to draw sustained public attention.
That's because, well, people like frogs. And, because frogs are in serious trouble.
Any environmental advocate will tell you that talk of "biodiversity" can be a tough sell, but introduce a cuddly or cute animal (in typical form, scientists refer to these as "charismatic megafauna," or likable big animals) and you've got the public's attention.
Any visit to a zoo this year, then, is likely to introduce visitors to what has been dubbed, for years now, the "amphibian crisis" or, more specifically, the amphibian extinction crisis. Amphibians, most of which live part of their lives in water and part on land, have highly permeable skin (unlike human skin, which acts as a barrier), making them particularly vulnerable to pollution. Add to that the spread of a deadly fungus; habitat loss due to development, logging and farming; and global warming, and one of the most successful species, from an evolutionary perspective, is on the verge of a catastrophic loss.
Consider these figures from Amphibian Ark, a group coordinating Year of the Frog events worldwide.
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