17 December 2011

Disappearing Frogs

“And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night?” – Chief Seattle, 1854

Have You Heard a Rib-it Lately?

Did you collect frogs' eggs from the ditches and streams near where you lived as a kid? I did and my daughters did as well. I made them dump them in the pond up at Simon Fraser University when we lived on campus. I figured that they had a better chance of survival than if they were left in a bucket.

That was in the good old days before we knew better.

Frogs are both predators and prey, they live in water and on land, and are extremely vulnerable to environmental toxins. When something is going wrong in the environment then frogs will often be the first to show it. Because of this frogs are seen by many people as the "canaries in the coal mine" of the global environment.

Now, frogs are disappearing rapidly. Since 1980 up to 120 species have disappeared from Mother Earth. The normal rate of extinction is one species every 200 years! Yikes! Something must be terribly wrong.

Pollution, infectious disease, habitat loss, invasive species, climate change and over-harvesting are killing our frogs.

Roads are one of the worst causes of frog destruction. Our failure to take into account frog habitat when we are building roads creates real problems for them and us.

Locally the Sea to Sky Highway that runs from North Vancouver to Whistler kills rare and endangered frogs every spring. The government refused to move the road to save a wetland. Sometimes the shortest distance is not the best distance to a place.

In places like the United Kingdom and Australia when roads interfere with frog or toad migration traffic is stopped to let them cross. We need to follow their example. Better still, we need to take into account our frogs when we are planning roads and housing developments.

Hate mosquitoes? Then keep our frogs alive. They love insects. Frogs help stop the transmitting of diseases like malaria—not to mention that itchiness that makes life miserable.

Frogs are important for dragonflies, fish, snakes, birds, beetles, centipedes and even monkeys.

No, we don’t have any monkeys in Burns Bog. But we have birds (about 200 different species), snakes (garter snakes), and dragonflies. Imagine how many frogs or tadpoles they need to eat to stay alive.

One species of frog found in Burns Bog is the Pacific Tree Frog. It is a tiny creature with a big voice. They are the ones that make the rib-it noise.

Why not “Adopt a Pacific Tree Frog” and give it to a friend this holiday season?

Or buy a large bag of “Frog Friendly Coffee” from Yumii Foods, divvy it up into decorative packages or small jars and give it as stocking stuffers. Your friends will thank you. I know I would. I have a rule. “Don’t give me anything I have to wash, dust or polish unless I tell you differently.”

“Frog Friendly Coffee” is great—it is wild coffee, no frogs are harmed.  An added bonus is that the harvesters are not forced to pick in an area where pesticides and herbicides are used.

What more can you ask for? Order your “Adopt a Pacific Tree Frog” today. It comes in a stylish folder with a fact sheet, a frameable certificate and a letter.

We take VISA, MasterCard, and American Express in person and over the phone (604.572.0373 or 1.888.850.6264) or you can order through our website (http://www.burnsbog.org/) using PayPal.

Rib-it, rib-it!

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