Anorak News | A Slippery Slope

A Slippery Slope

by | 12th, January 2006

‘MOST of us will never meet a lion in the wild, lick the back of an hallucinogenic toad or see Antarctica first hand.

For most of us the wild exists only on the telly and in magazines. Spotting David Attenborough in a supermarket is as exposed to wild nature as most of us get.

Nature is out there, beyond the horizon, past the drizzle, best viewed from a satellite images on the TV weather update.

But nature is coming closer. It’s all over the cover of the Independent. There’s a picture of a lion and the news that it faces extinction.

There’s the story that agricultural methods in Ireland are threatening the existence of the corncrake, lapwing, barn owl, cuckoo and chough.

Intensive farming methods mean 29 species of birds and 120 flowering plants are in serious decline.

And then there are the amphibians. Frogs and toads are dying. The kinds of creatures you find in ponds in your suburban gardens are going the way of the dodo. The grown up version of the spawn you collected at school and watched hatch into tadpoles is disappearing. Toad of Toad Hall is about to crash and burn.

And why? Global warming, says the Indy. Scientists have linked the spread of a species of chytrid fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis with the decline of the world’s 6,000 known species of amphibians.

Global warming means cooler days and warmer nights, which helps the fungus reproduce. And this is bad news for Kermit – the fungus is deadly to amphibians.

Alan Pounds of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve in Costa Rica, the lead author of the study, says, “Disease is the bullet killing frogs, but climate change is pulling the trigger.”

“Global warming is wreaking havoc on amphibians, and will cause staggering losses of biodiversity if we don’t do something fast.”

So let’s get to it. Problem is frogs and toads are slimy. Unlike panda bears, they are not that appealing. They lack a lion’s majesty. They have nothing of a whale’s divine grandeur.

Frogs would serve their cause well if they could look cuddly. Perhaps they should start wearing fur coats. Or start mating with mink…’

Posted: 12th, January 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink