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).

 

Year of the Frog Review December 5, 2008

The Zoological Society of Manitoba and the Assiniboine Park Zoo helped kick of Year of the Frog (YOTF) in February of this year (on Leap Day none-the-less!) as we joined hundreds of zoos, aquariums and conservation organizations bring about public awareness about amphibians. The Amphibian Ark helped spearhead this massive global public awareness campaign to focus the public’s attention on endangered amphibians, of which there hundreds of species in peril. It also helped focus attention on the critical work being done by zoos and aquariums to save them.  The Zoological Society of Manitoba has been supporting this worldwide initiative with special events, educational programs and community outreach efforts throughout 2008.

The Zoological Society’s Education Department included YOTF in many of its programs in 2008, including spring and summer zoo camps, school programs and interpretive talks, tours and educational booths. We will continue to do so over the coming years. The zoo has also just realeased a series of 15 new amphibian interpretive signs. These new signs will be found throughout the zoo in the spring of 2009, not next to exhibits, but next to the ponds and natural areas in the park. Many people don’t realize that some of the animal sounds that they hear at the zoo in the spring and early summer are not from the zoo’s residents but from wood frogs, boreal chorus frogs, leopard frongs, spring peepers and other frogs and toads that call the Assiniboine Park and Zoo home.

For more information on YOTF, please visit www.zoosociety.com

 

Year of the Frog Signs

The Assiniboine Park Zoo, the Zoological Society of Manitoba, Nature North and many others have done their part to help further promote frog conservation around Manitoba. Year of the Frog is coming to an end on the calendar only. Zoos around the world are continuing the work that they started in 2008 so that no momentum is lost in the fight to save as many species of amphibians from extinction as possible.

For our part, the Zoological Society secured funding for new amphibian interpretive signs. These 15 signs will not only be displayed throughout the Assiniboine Park Zoo, but copies of them will are being distributed throughout Manitoba. You can get your first view of the new signs at Nature North: http://www.naturenorth.com/Zoo/zoo_amphibians.html

Thanks so much to Manitoba’s Sustainable Development Innovations Fund for providing funding to expand the project province wide and to Doug Collicutt for providing support through his wonderful nature site.

The new amphibian signs will be on display at the zoo and around the province, just in time for spring.