Tails From The Zoo

Zoo Amphibian Signs June 1, 2009

New Amphibian Interpretive Signs For Manitoba

2008 was the International Year of the Frog – a huge international effort to promote the conservation of the remaining amphibians from the current extinction crisis.  Dozens of the world’s 6000 species have become extinct in the last hundred years, and biologists feel that as many as 35% to 50% of the remaining species will disappear within the next generation. This is in part due to a chytrid fungal disease (now spread nearly worldwide), exploitation of amphibians through the pet trade and as a food source, habitat loss, climate change, pollution, and other causes.  Numerous zoos in dozens of countries are taking in and breeding the surviving remnant populations of frogs on the edge of extinction. Hundreds of others spent 2008 promoting amphibian conservation throughout their facilities and into the schools. The task is enormous, costly, and technically challenging but the effort is worth it.

As part of the Assinboine Park Zoo and Zoo Society of Manitoba’s contribution to this program, (in addition to the amphibian based tours, talks and camps that occurred at the Zoo Education Centre last year), bilingual, illustrated signs (20 x 24-inch) were produced on all 15 species in the province.  These signs (including frogs, toads and salamanders) are now being installed at the zoo.  You can view them on the internet at the Zoo Society’s website, www.zoosociety.com and at www.naturenorth.com.

Thanks to a grant from Manitoba Conservation’s Sustainable Development Innovations Fund, the zoo was able to produce 165 signs for 18 organizations around the province, and these are just now been distributed. Copies were made available to all Manitoba nature facilities free of charge and will soon be displayed in many national, provincial and city parks, museums, nature centres, and public trails (e.g., Bishop Grandin Greenway Trail).

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