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Frogs Are Vanishing Across North America, Climate Change And Habitat Loss To Blame

Apr 11, 2013 11:06 AM EDT

Reports of declining levels of amphibians, especially frogs, continue to come in as climate change, pollution and habitat loss decimate their numbers.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature reports 32 percent of the world's amphibian species are threatened or extinct.

In Puerto Rican jungles, researchers have noticed there are places where they used to hear four species of frogs making noise, while now they are hearing just two or one.

"Everywhere we are seeing declines and it's severe," said Jan Zegarra, a biologist based in Puerto Rico for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to an Associated Press report.

Declining frog populations will have negative effects on the overall ecosystem, as birds and snakes often prey on frogs and frogs, in turn, are major predators of mosquitoes. Prolonged absence of frogs in some areas could lead to a rise in malaria and dengue, not to mention discomfort, the AP reports.

Back on the mainland U.S., the world's declining amphibian population is being witnessed in the Midwest.

Mother Nature Network reports some species frogs common in Illinois experiencing significant population decline due to man-made factors like habitat loss and climate change. The site reports a decline of cricket frogs and spring peepers.  

Declining frog populations have been recorded for many years and as they continue to mount, more evidence points to climate change as a large reason for their decline.

A 2001 study at the University of Oregon took note of how toad embryos appeared to be dying because of a chain of events that led to climate change.

"The climate change-induced increase in various lethal diseases affecting a wide range of organisms may explain the recurring theme of epidemic disease associated with many amphibian declines," the researchers said in a statement. "It has become increasingly clear that if we are to predict how climate change may translate into species losses we must link global and local interactions.

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