Amphibians may be wiped out by 2050

September 26th, 2008 - 2:33 pm ICT by ANI  

London, September 26 (ANI): Scientists have warned that the combined force of climate change, pollution, disease, habitat loss and degradation, could wipeout amphibians by 2050.

According to a report in the Times, the team of scientists, from the Zoological Society of London, has also said that half of Europes amphibian species could be wiped out in the next 40 years.

After assessing the amphibians prospects, they predicted that more than 50 per cent of the 81 species native to Europe faced extinction by 2050.

Even surviving species, according to them, were likely to suffer a decline in numbers and distribution, including the common toad in Britain, which is already being affected by climate change.

They said that in the short term, many species would need to be taken into captivity because they faced extinction in the wild.

In the long term, although pollution could be reduced and habitats restored in limited areas, the survival of amphibians in Europe depended on solutions to climate change and cures to diseases being found.

They based their predictions on a review of past published papers and modelling programmes, combined with findings from current conservation projects.

Sir David Attenborough, a naturalist and broadcaster, described amphibians as the lifeblood of many environments because of the important role they played in them, such as providing food for larger animals.

It is both extraordinary and terrifying that in just a few decades the world could lose half of all these species, he said.

He hoped that we will not be hearing the dying croaks of these amazing creatures in the years to come.

Dr Garner, a ZSL research fellow, said that the species most under threat were those that could not escape threats by migrating into new territories.

Island species were particularly vulnerable, but even mainland European amphibians faced geographical barriers such as mountains.

For example, one of the most threatened amphibians in Europe is the Majorcan midwife toad, the male of which carries the fertilised eggs until they are ready to hatch.

The toads are limited to only 30 sites in Majorca, on which the deadly chytrid fungus was found recently.

According to Dr Garner, A lot of amphibian habitat is going to become unsuitable. That puts them at risk. Combined with that there are other pressures including disease, existing habitat loss and pollution. I think greater than half are threatened with extinction by 2050. (ANI)

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