Endangered Species Day on May 20 is dedicated for people of all ages to learn about the importance of protecting endangered species and learn about everyday actions one can take to help protect them before it’s too late! In Orlando Science Center’s NatureWorks exhibit you can find a variety of reptiles and species that are native to Florida and other countries around the world. Of these species, five are threatened and one species is endangered so it is up to us to protect them!
Why Take Care of a Frog?
Our Golfo Dulce Poison Dart Frog (Phyllobates vittatus) that is featured here is from the rainforest in South America. This little frog is known to be poisonous, so why bother protecting it?
First, these frogs have venom that has the potential to become medicine… Although it is still being researched, it’s possible that poison can lead to a medical triumph that can save lives! According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, “Frogs and toads have been vitally important in the field of human medicine and compounds from their skin are currently being tested for anti-cancer and anti-HIV properties.”
Not only are these frogs important to our medical advancements, they also are important to our ecosystem. Since they serve as both predator and prey Golfo Dulce serve an important role in the harmony and balance of wetland ecosystems. They are also indicators of environmental health in these ecosystems and without them it can cause a major imbalance that could potentially harm the entire ecosystem as a whole!
Hop To It! How We Can Help
In order to prevent losing our Golfo Dulce entirely, we must take action and find a solution to this slippery mess. One organization that is working towards frog conservation is the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. They have started an organization called FrogWatch USA that provides an opportunity for families and individuals to learn more about frogs and wetlands and what they can do to help out frog conservation.
One way to become a frog conservationist is by volunteering with the organization to learn and identify these frogs and report the findings accurately. The reports include information on the species and their calls during breeding season. This helps the FrogWatch USA track the frog development that is occurring in certain areas. So hop to it and learn more about how you can help save our little friends!