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Costa Rican Frogs Wiped Out?

January 16th, 2006

Harlequin Frog - Poison Dart FrogEDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA – Disease induced by global warming is to blame for a mass extinction of frog species in Costa Rica.

I stumbled upon this copyrighted article the other day, and have been trying to verify the facts a bit before I wrote this. Sadly, neither the University of Alberta nor the magazine Nature seem to make any reference to this important information. I am presuming there is only one Nature magazine.

Nasty little headline and lead paragraph, and if true, this is pretty damning. I say “if true” as while I do believe in the effects of global warming, I also know there are those… let’s call them alarmists… who tend to cause more harm than good by constantly issuing doomsday scenarios that never seem to actually occur nor can they be verified. I tend to think though, that this report is factual though I find it odd that newspapers here have not picked up the story. Continuing…

“An estimated 67 per cent of 110 species of the Monteverde harlequin frog have vanished from the mountains of Costa Rica in the last 20 years, along with another amphibian, the golden toad.”

Another incredible statement!

In an interview with David Howell of The Edmonton Journal, Associate Professor (and Costa Rican) Arturo Sanchez stated, “”Sixty-seven per cent of all the species in the family are literally biting the dust,” and, “It shines a light on the importance of getting a clear understanding of how global warming is affecting tropical environments.”

Sanchez and his graduate students began by trying to interpret about 30 years of accumulated data, NOT on temperature changes, but instead to find out the effect of deforestation, a continuing problem in Costa Rica. Deforestation, it appears was not they problem with the frogs. Rather, the evidence of temperature increases were found to have (possibly) caused the problem as between 1975 and 2000, land temperatures in Monteverde have increased by 0.18 C per decade which has encouraged growth of a fungus that attacks the frogs.

J. Alan Pounds, Resident Scientist, Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, and Head, Golden Toad Laboratory for Conservation (GTLC), Costa Rica and the lead author of the study, confirmed the higher average air temperatures in the region are responsible for the spread of the fungus according to a related article.

Related: See this

For a ton of other related articles, click here.