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The Zoological Society of London has come out with a hard-hitting statement on the Government’s plans to mine parts of the conservation estate, concerned in particular at what mining might mean for the rare Archey’s frog and Hochstetter’s frog.

It seems the Archey’s frog is at the top of the ZSL’s EDGE of Existence amphibian list, “making it the most distinct and globally endangered amphibian on the planet”. It is regarded as a “living fossil” according to ZSL, as it is largely indistinguishable from frogs that “walked amongst the dinosaurs 150 million years ago”. The frogs are found in conservation areas in the North Island.

Now, you may be thinking the ZSL is getting a little ahead of itself campaigning from across the world against the mining proposal before the government has even done any surveying or examined in any depth the potential environmental impact of mining areas that are currently conservation land. But the ZLS is pretty passionate about frogs.

This from the release issued  a short while ago in London:

’In the year when reducing biodiversity loss is high on the political agenda, it is inconceivable to think that we’d put the nail in the coffin of some of our rarest and most extraordinary frog species,’ say Helen Meredith, EDGE of Existence amphibian conservation projects coordinator at ZSL.

At least one local frog expert agrees:

Dr Phil Bishop, leader of the University of Otago’s frog research says ’Only four species of frog survive in New Zealand, and this proposed mining activity could cause the extinction of one of New Zealand’s native amphibians, and a severe decline in another – a devastating blow to global amphibian conservation.’

We’ve hear a lot about the opposition to mining the conservation estate but little specific about the most at-risk flora and fauna. The frogs certainly seem to rank high on the list of species that could be adversely affected.  And in case you haven’t come across Archey the frog, here are some pictures of them courtesy of the ZSL…

credit: Andrew Nelson

credit: Andrew Nelson

credit: Phil Bishop

credit: Phil Bishop

credit: Phil Bishop

credit: Phil Bishop

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