Conservation biologists refer to amphibians as “the canaries in the coal mine” – they are among the first species to be affected by environmental stressors, so when they show declines in the wild, it serves as a warning to other species, including humans. Amphibians are also a critical part of a healthy natural world. In addition to their intrinsic value as a beautiful part of nature, they offer many benefits to us:
- They play an important role in the food web as both predator and prey, maintaining the delicate balance of nature. Where they are disappearing, detrimental effects are already being documented.
- Amphibians eat pest insects, benefiting successful agriculture around the world and minimizing the spread of diseases, including malaria.
- The skin of amphibians has substances that protect them from some microbes and viruses, offering possible medical cures for a variety of human diseases, including AIDS.
- Amphibians’ skin is highly permeable, allowing them to drink and breathe. Unfortunately, contaminants also readily enter the body, making amphibians an exceptional indicator of environmental quality. They are particularly sensitive to pollution, making them important sentinels to potential human threats.
- Frogs have had a special place in various human cultures for centuries, cherished as agents of life and good luck.
© 2008 The Clorox Company. All Rights Reserved
Retrived from http://www.fightforthefrogs.com/frogs-matter.html# on March 31, 2011