Friday, June 05, 2009

It isn't easy being green

Meet the rare, red-legged frog. A new face on the Burde Street pond trails.

Red-legged frogs are nationally listed as special concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and they are on the provincial Blue List.

The California variant of this species has been listed as endangered. In the U.S. once a species is listed, that's it. The recovery plan goes into overdrive and they seem to take the whole thing very seriously.

Despite having 186 animals on its Red and Blue lists, the province of B.C. doesn't have any legislation for doing anything about these disappearing creatures.

Federally there's COSEWIC and the Species at Risk Act (SARA) but what do they do?

“There are 449 species listed under SARA and next to none are receiving adequate protection. Instead of working to protect Canada’s endangered species, the federal government is working to evade the law intended to protect them,” said Susan Pinkus, Ecojustice conservation biologist.

The only critter Canada has done anything about aiding is the Banff springs snail which was already protected because it only exists in the National Park.

I'm not in support of elaborate plans and restrictions to save single species. These are big picture problems showing up in small picture situations. It's the big problems that need to be solved.

This frog's global status is listed as imperiled, I guess that's a step up from endangered.

Reasons for their decline have been listed variously as:

wetland destruction, degradation and fragmentation
residential development
reservoir construction
stream channelization
livestock grazing of riparian vegetation
off-road vehicle activity
over harvesting
exotic fishes (bass, mosquitofish) and possibly bullfrogs
global warming UV-B radiation
airborne contaminants

Oh, to be a frog in this big, bad world

At this point the global picture is sending us warnings, in so many shapes and sizes, that suggest the planet's life-giving systems are on the brink of collapse. It's shocking that the goverments of rich countries like ours think they can keep playing the game by the old rules.

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