Amphibian Conservation and the Amphibian Specialist Group

Our understanding of the world’s amphibians is rapidly evolving. Prior to the comprehensive assessment of all amphibians completed in 2004, the conservation status of fewer than 1,000 species had been assessed, mainly in Australia, North America, and Europe. New species of amphibians are still being discovered at a rapid rate, and these are being incorporated in the regular updates of the amphibian data on the IUCN Red List.

The IUCN Species Survival Commission established a new Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG) in 2005. One of the ASG’s first priorities was to convene the Amphibian Conservation Summit from September 17-19th 2005, which was hosted by IUCN and Conservation International in Washington DC. The summit concluded with proposals for a series of actions, including emergency responses to save species under the greatest threat. More than 60 specialists drafted the seven-page Amphibian Conservation Action Plan declaration which can be downloaded from the Amphibian Specialist Group website.

The action plan adopted at the summit addresses the key issues affecting the world’s amphibians, and is divided into four key strategies:

  1. Understanding the causes of declines and extinctions
  2. Documenting amphibian diversity and how it is changing
  3. Developing and implementing long-term conservation programs
  4. Delivering emergency responses to crises

The plan calls for research into the control and elimination of the fungal disease in the wild, as well as greater habitat protection, to maintain or re-establish viable wild amphibian populations in the future. The action plan also proposes a major expansion of such captive breeding programs in countries where species are the most threatened by the disease.

The ASG has now appointed regional and national chairs. To find the Chair for your region please visit the ASG website.

For more information regarding amphibian conservation please contact James Lewis (jplewis@amphibians.org), in the ASG Secretariat.