Have you come across a dead or sick looking frog recently? You may have vital information that can help us!
Like something out of a dramatic crime thriller, large numbers of frogs, of numerous species, have been turning up dead along the eastern coast of Australia.
The extent and intensity of this frog mortality event is so severe as to cause serious concern for the future of many of these already vulnerable species, with some potentially becoming extinct as a result. The question is though, what’s causing all these frogs to die?
Taronga’s Australian Registry of Wildlife Health and the Australian Museum are on the case, working to understand the scale of the mortality event and the impacts on frog populations. Recently, Dr Karrie Rose, Taronga’s Veterinary Pathologist and Dr Jodi Rowley of the Australian Museum, published an article in The Conversation asking for members of the public to report sick and dead frogs.
Since then, we have received more than 1,400 emails from across Australia (up to 30 individual frogs in one report) over several weeks. Approximately 70% of all reports are within NSW. At least 32 native species, including threatened species, have been reported.
This is hugely concerning. Frogs are a key indicator species that tell us about the health of our environment, connecting aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and are an important part of the wider food web, both as predator and prey.
Climate change, habitat modification, and introduced species are all major threats to our frog friends, but this mortality event may just push them over the edge.
You can help us by reporting any dead or sick looking frogs you may come across to the FrogID team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure to include photos and location information if possible so they can help track the progress of the outbreak.