Take a look at one of your fingernails. That's the size of a tiny type of frog
that lives deep within the lush jungles of Madagascar. Until recently, no one knew they even existed. The three frogs are part of the newly named Mini genus and have been cleverly named Madagascar Mini mum
, Mini ature, and Mini scule. And are all completely new discoveries. But even though they have "just arrived" the minis may not last long in this world. In fact, frogs all over the world are actually in danger of disappearing.
Thirty years ago, scientists began to notice that something was awry with the frog populations around the world. Something was killing them at alarming rates and they couldn't figure out what. Soon, researchers learned that an insidious fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) was actually infecting the amphibians from all corners of the world.
Bd essentially attacked the animals' skin, slowly eating them alive. Since then, around 90 frog species are assumed to have disappeared from the earth, while there has been a devastating population collapse in the majority of the remaining species. Some have fallen by as much as 90%.
While the fungus is usually the main factor in the species' decline, other human-made factors have also pushed the frogs to their limit. Habitat loss, climate change and the introduction of invasive species, along with Bd, have created a deadly cocktail.
In the U.S. a 2013 study
found that American species are in a slow walk decline. Those fairing "well" are decreasing in population by around 2.7% a year, while the worst cases are being chopped by nearly 12% annually. These numbers are unsustainable and will soon lead to their disappearance, throwing the ecosystem in disarray
. Frogs serve as a crucial link in the food chain, feeding on smaller creatures while serving as prey for larger predators. If they disappear many more animal species will vanish as well.
We cannot let this happen. The U.S. government must step in and dedicate money and minds to find a way to stop the decline of our frogs, stop the spread of the fungus and reverse the damage it has already inflicted on America's amphibians. Please sign the petition and urge the Environmental Protection Agency to step up and save our frogs.