Year of the Frog

February 27, 2008 8:13:31 PM PST
Every four years or so there is a Leap Year. That extra day in February helps to keep our calendar in alignment with earth's rotations around the sun.This year - 2008 - happens to be a leap year but it is also - The Year of the Frog.

Most of us never give frogs much thought but their health is often an indicator of the health of our environment. The dwindling numbers of frogs on planet earth is the reason for "The year of the frog"

You can hear the laughter outside the reptile house at Fresno's Chaffee Zoo when you walk up to the doors. Inside kids with their noses pressed to the glass are mesmerized by the variety of snakes, reptiles, turtles and frogs. Kids and creatures are a natural combination.

And frogs, Well frogs are just plain cool says Andy Snider, director of animal care and conservation at the Chaffee zoo: "When they see frogs they just love them; they're non-threatening, they're colorful and they love 'em."

That's the good news the bad news? Frogs and other amphibians are suffering from pollution, loss of habitat and healthy water to live in and around.

Andy Snider says "a third is in danger of extinction now and there's nothing that has ever happened in our lifetimes like that, I think it's important to get that message out and make people aware."

Captive breeding helps, so does research but ultimately people will determine if frogs and other amphibians survive in the wild. That's the focus of 'the year of the frog' a project fostered by the amphibian ark organization and its educational website.

Andy Snider: "there's so many ways that people can make a difference right around their homes in not creating environments around their homes that at not frog-friendly."

Snider suggests using fewer chemicals, pesticides and herbicides at your home. The results he believes will be healthier for you and that frog you may only hear ... but never see. Andy Snider "Remember if you allow a toad to live in your yard, it's getting rid of all the bugs that are back there too."

The worldwide health of these creatures according to Snider and other conservationists is tied to our own and that's the message of this leap year 2008 - The Year of the Frog.'

On Friday, February 29th, the Fresno Chaffee zoo is sponsoring family-friendly side-walk frog chalk art with 15-hundred school kids. On Saturday the zoo will host arts, crafts and frog-friendly fun to celebrate The Year of the Frog.

Website links:

Amphibian Ark Project
www.amphibianark.org/yearofthefrog.htm Chaffee Zoo - Fresno's Roeding Park
www.fresnochaffeezoo.com/index.html American Zoo & Aquarium Association
www.aza.org/YearoftheFrog/


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