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  • Have you ever heard the sound of frogs calling at night?

  • For hundreds of millions of years, this croaking lullaby has filled the nighttime air.

  • But recent studies suggest that these frogs are in danger of playing their final note.

  • Over the past few decades, amphibian populations have been rapidly disappearing worldwide.

  • Nearly one-third of the world's amphibian species are endanger of extinction, and over 100 species have already disappeared.

  • But don't worry, there's still hope.

  • Before we get into how to save the frogs, let's start by taking a look at why they're disappearing and why it's important to keep them around.

  • Habitat destruction is the number one problem for frog populations around the world.

  • There are seven billion humans on the planet, and we compete with frogs for habitat.

  • We build cities, suburbs, and farms on top of frog habitat and chop forests and drain the wetlands that serve as home for numerous amphibian populations.

  • Climate change alters precipitation levels, drying up ponds, streams, and cloud forests.

  • As the Earth's human population continues to grow, so will the threats amphibians face.

  • There are a variety of other factors contributing to the frogs' decline.

  • Over-harvesting for the pet and food trade results in millions of frogs being taken out of the wild each year.

  • Invasive species, such as non-native trout and crawfish, eat native frogs.

  • Humans are facilitating the spread of infectious diseases by shipping over 100 million amphibians around the world each year for use as food, pets, bait,

  • and in laboratories and zoos, with few regulations or quarantines.

  • One of these diseases, chytridiomycosis, has driven stream-dwelling amphibian populations to extinction in Africa, Australia, Europe, and North, Central, and South America.

  • On top of all these problems, we add hundreds of millions of kilograms of pesticides to our ecosystems each year.

  • And these chemicals are easily absorbed through amphibians' permeable skin, causing immunosuppression,

  • or a weakened immune system, and developmental deformities.

  • Okay, so why are these little green guys worth keeping around?

  • Frogs are important for a multitude of reasons.

  • They're an integral part of the food web, eating flies, ticks, mosquitoes, and other disease vectors, thus, protecting us against malaria, dengue fever, and other illnesses.

  • Tadpoles keep waterways clean by feeding on algae, reducing the demand on our community's filtration systems and keeping our cost of water low.

  • Frogs serve as a source of food for birds, fish, snakes, dragonflies, and even monkeys.

  • When frogs disappear, the food web is disturbed, and other animals can disappear as well.

  • Amphibians are also extremely important in human medicine.

  • Over ten percent of the Nobel prizes in physiology and medicine have gone to researchers whose work depended on amphibians.

  • Some of the antimicrobial peptides on frog skin can kill HIV, some act as pain killers, and others serve as natural mosquito repellents.

  • Many discoveries await us if we can save the frogs, but when a frog species disappears, so does any promise it holds for improving human health.

  • Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can help, and the best place to start is by improving your ecological footprint and day-to-day actions.

  • The next time you listen to that nighttime lullaby, don't think of it as just another background noise,

  • hear it as a call for help, sung in perfect croaking harmony.

Have you ever heard the sound of frogs calling at night?

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