Amphibians are in the midst of an extinction crisis. According to the Global Amphibian Assessment, nearly one-third of all amphibian species are endangered or threatened, making amphibians the most endangered group of animals in the world.
The largest numbers of threatened amphibian species occur in Latin America and the Caribbean. With a focus on species native to Latin America, Defenders works to protect amphibians from unsustainable trade and disease. Amphibians are the third most imported animals in the United States, and are generally some of the most commonly traded animals throughout the world. Not only does this trade deplete wild populations, but it is also linked to the spread of fungal diseases that are currently decimating frogs and salamanders around the world. As if this weren’t enough, amphibians are also threatened by climate change, habitat loss and invasive species.
Defenders maximizes its efforts to protect amphibians through its membership in a group called the Amphibian Survival Alliance – the world’s largest partnership for amphibian conservation.
What Defenders Is Doing to Help Amphibians
- In 2010, Defenders played a crucial role in the successful listing of the Kaiser’s newt, the Chilean frog, the Ecuadorian frog, and an entire genus of tree frogs known as Agalychris under CITES at the 15th Conference of the Parties.
- In 2011, Defenders of Wildlife, Pro Wildlife, and the Animal Welfare issued a report titled Canapes to Extinction: The International Trade in Frogs’ Legs and its Ecological Impact. The report was the first comprehensive study on the frog leg market ever conducted, and revealed an industry rife with serious environmental consequences.
- In 2012, at the 26th CITES Animal Committee meeting, together with other NGOs, Defenders delivered a presentation about the serious impact of the international amphibian trade on biodiversity and ecology.
- Beginning in 2014, together with a coalition of NGOs, Defenders began working with the government to prevent the Bsal fungus from entering the country. This disease has already devastated salamander populations in Asia and Europe.
- In 2015, Defenders hosted an International Amphibian Workshop, bringing together amphibian experts from around the world to discuss species that would benefit from increased trade enforcement and monitoring measures.