Biologist Kerry Kriger is on a Mission to SAVE THE FROGS
Biologist Dr. Kerry Kriger and his SAVE THE FROGS! Organization sponsor a global SAVE THE FROGS! Day every April, but they work all year to preserve frogs and other amphibians and their habitat.
“If we can discover the meaning in the trilling of a frog, perhaps we may understand why it is for us not merely noise but a song of poetry and emotion.” Adrian Forsyth
Biologist Dr. Kerry Kriger and his SAVE THE FROGS! Organization walk a tight rope between doom and gloom predictions and inspiration and hope for the future of frog species on planet earth. He and other scientists are working with ordinary people to reclaim frogs that are a short hop or two away from extinction and to keep other species away from the of danger of extinction.
In a recent telephone interview, Dr. Kriger explained that frogs face many challenges to their survival, and the environmental action or inaction of humans will determine the future of frogs. More than 200 species of frogs have completely disappeared since 1980 and this is not a normal event in the natural world. He said that “amphibians naturally go extinct at a rate of only about one species every 250 years and unless we act quickly, amphibian species will continue to disappear, resulting in irreversible consequences to the planet’s ecosystems and to humans.”
According to Dr. Kriger and other scientists, frogs and other amphibians face an array of environmental problems, including pollution, infectious diseases, habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, and over harvesting for the pet and food trades.
Nature, People And Frogs Are Interdependent
Frogs are an important strand in the food web. Adult frogs eat swarms of insects, including malaria carrying mosquitoes, and tadpoles clean waterways by feeding on algae. A multitude of predators including fish, snakes, birds, beetles, and monkeys depend on frogs for food. When frog populations disappear, their disappearance disrupts the balance of the food web and this resonates through the ecosystem.
People need to monitor frogs as indicators of environmental health, Dr. Kriger said. Frogs need favorable living conditions on land and water, and their skins easily absorb toxic chemicals. Their permeable skin makes frogs especially sensitive to environmental problems, and scientists consider their health to be a measure of biosphere health, much like in early 20th century coal mines when miners would use canaries to detect deadly methane and carbon monoxide gas pockets. As long as the canary kept singing, the miners knew the air supply was safe.
Biologist Dr. Kerry Kriger and his SAVE THE FROGS! Organization sponsor a global SAVE THE FROGS! Day every April, but they work all year to preserve frogs and other amphibians and their habitat. As a biologist, Dr. Kriger speaks passionately about frogs. He pointed out that frogs have survived mostly in their current form for 250 million years. They have weathered ice ages, asteroid hits and other environmental problems without danger of extinction, until the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries. Today, one-third of frogs and amphibian species teeter on the edge of extinction. This, he said, should “serve as an alarm call to humans that something is drastically wrong in the environment.”
Besides being environmental barometers, frogs can benefit human health through pharmaceuticals. Some of their skin secretions have the potential to improve human health and fight diseases like Aids. According to Dr. Kriger, studies and experiments using frogs have produced about 10 percent of the Nobel Prizes in Physiology and Medicine. When a frog species disappears, so does any potential for improving human medicine.
Biologist Kerry Kriger Founded SAVE THE FROGS!
In May 2008, Dr. Kriger founded SAVE THE FROGS! as the first and only American public charity that is exclusively dedicated to amphibian conservation. The mission of SAVE THE FROGS! is to protect amphibian populations and to work for a society that respects and values nature and wildlife. The vision of the SAVE THE FROGS! Organization is a world without any amphibian species threatened with extinction.
Since its founding in 2008, SAVE THE FROGS! has achieved important victories in its ongoing campaign to prevent restaurants from selling frog legs. Another of Dr. Kriger’s goals is to convince 200 schools to dissect frogs virtually instead of physically in biology courses by 2014. He recalled that after one of his presentations a biology teacher told him that the students who dissected frogs virtually did better on tests than the students who dissected real frogs. He cited a study from George Mason University that supported the biology teacher’s conclusions.
Dr. Kriger and SAVE THE FROGS! Celebrate SAVE THE FROGS! Day Every Year
Dr. Kriger and his SAVE THE FROG! organization declared April 28, 2012, as the fourth annual SAVE THE FROGS! Day and they are planning the fifth annual event for April 27, 2013. Dr. Kriger states that just a small number of the public is aware that frogs are disappearing and successful amphibian conservation requires and informed public. “Our goal is to make the amphibian crisis common knowledge by SAVE THE FROGS DAY! Help make it happen!” he urges.
According to Dr. Kriger, SAVE THE FROGS! Day is a de-centralized event which means that local organizations and people need to create events as to enhance the national and international SAVE THE FROGS! day on April 28, 2012. In his SAVE THE FROGS! Newsletter, Dr. Kriger suggest ways local people and organizations can become involved in saving frogs. These include making a video to promote Save the Frogs Day and distribute it on the web, making a flyer to promote Save The Frogs Day and post it around town, holding a benefit concert, and getting local schools to hold events for Save the Frogs Day.
Every year SAVE THE FROGS! sponsors a poetry, art, and essay contest. Karna Jandzinski, age 11, of Sandy Hook, Virginia, won first prize in the Under 13 Category of the 2011 Save The Frogs Poetry Contest. The last stanza of her poem reads:
Numbers now so in decline Indicators of our planet’s health It’s not too late to make a change Help save the world for the frog and maybe save yourself.
Her words capture the message of Dr. Kerry Kriger and SAVE THE FROGS!