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Global Decline in Amphibian Populations
The first worldwide assessment of amphibians confirms past reports highlighting the troubled state of many frogs, toads, salamanders and other amphibians.
Simon Stuart and his international team present the key findings of the Global Amphibian Assessment in the report published online by the journal Science at the Science Express website on 14 October 2004. The authors report that 1,856 species 32.5 percent of the total 5,743 species of known amphibians are "globally threatened," meaning they fall into the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List categories of vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered.
In addition, 2,468 amphibian species (43.2 percent) are in decline, 435 (7.6 percent) are in rapid decline, and up to 122 (2.1 percent) seem to have disappeared since 1980 (many of which are probably extinct).
These numbers indicate that the situation for amphibians is much worse than it is for birds or mammals. Some of the rapidly declining species are disappearing though they live in situations where there are no obvious threats, although disease and climate change are implicated. Continued spread of these enigmatic declines throughout the world will put many more species at risk for extinction, the authors say.
18 October 2004