Loving Amphibians to Death

If there’s one group of animals that has got it tough, it’s fair to say it’s the amphibians. Over the last decade populations across the globe have been decimated by an indiscriminate disease called chytrid fungus. And as if that wasn’t enough, a group of diseases wiping out amphibians in Spain has hit the headlines, as well as reports of a skin-eating fungus which is now threatening salamanders and newts in Europe. Ironically, the skin-eating variety is thought to have come from Asia and been spread by the exotic pet trade. It turns out that our love for amphibians is actually what’s killing them.

Fire salamander

Fire salamander

This might not seem an obvious consequence of buying a terrapin at your local pet shop, which is why explaining the consequences of actions is an important part of communications. If you can show that those consequences have an impact on people, then even better. The ‘what does it mean to me?’ test. Telling an amphibian owner that their pet could spell the end of watching great crested newts dart beneath the lily pads in their garden pond may just make them think twice before buying a friend for ‘Stanley’ the salamander. Another consequence of losing amphibians is that their favourite food, insects, are likely to explode in numbers. As well as having the capacity to ruin a good BBQ, certain insects also harbour diseases such as Malaria. It’s a common held view that society’s become disconnected from nature. But the truth is that we’re still deeply connected to it and our actions might affect us in ways we don’t expect.

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