September 26, 2008
Extinction Threatens European Amphibians
More than half the frogs, toads, newts and other amphibians in Europe could be wiped out in less than 50 years, British scientists said.
In a report to the Zoological Society of London, researchers said Thursday that the most threatened species live in southern Europe, The Guardian reported. The Mediterranean climate is expected to become significantly hotter and drier, which is bad news for the Mallorcan midwife toad and the brook newt of Sardinia.
"Amphibians are the lifeblood of many environments, playing key roles in the function of ecosystems, and it is both extraordinary and terrifying that in just a few decades the world could lose half of all these species," said Sir David Attenborough, famed for his television nature shows.
One-third of the amphibian species in the world are listed as endangered. Researchers said climate change adds to the stress caused by habitat loss and the spread of disease.
Researchers said snakes, birds and fish that prey on amphibians also appear to be dropping in numbers as their food supply dwindles.