Ode to an expiring frog

Once upon a time there was a wide-mouth green-back frog. One day it decided to leave its pond and explore the world. Soon it met a large four-legged black and white animal with two horns, and said (stretch mouth wide using fingers): “Helloo, I’m a wiiide-mouth green-back frog, what are you, and what do you eat?”

(Moofully) “I’m a cow, and I eat grass.” (Stretch mouth wide) “Oooh, that’s nice.”

The wide-mouthed green-back frog then saw a huge bird with sharp talons and a curved beak. (Stretch mouth wide) “Helloo, I’m a wiiide-mouth green-back frog, what are you, and what do you eat?”

(Beakily) “I’m an eagle, and I eat birds and mice.” (Stretch mouth wide) “Oooh, that’s nice.”

Next the frog came across a large four-legged creature, standing on its hind legs, with sharp claws. (Stretch mouth wide) “Helloo, I’m a wiiide-mouth green-back frog, what are you, and what do you eat?”

(Growlingly) “I’m a bear, and I eat salmon.” (Stretch mouth wide) “Ooh, that’s nice.”

The wide-mouthed green-back frog then reached a river where he met a greyish knobbly creature with rows of huge teeth. (Stretch mouth wide) “Helloo, I’m a wiiide-mouth green-back frog, what are you, and what do you eat?”

(Grimly) “I’m a crocodile and I eat wide-mouth green-back frogs.” (Pucker mouth, purse lips and say extremely primly) “Ooh, is that so? You don’t see many of them around, do you?”

I was reminded of this doubtless apocryphal story by the latest update of the Red List of Threatened Species issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) on the eve of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Red List is a critical indicator of the state of the world’s biodiversity. It provides evidence that the source of our food, medicines and clean water, as well the livelihoods of millions of people, is increasingly at risk with the rapid decline of the world’s animal, plant and fungi species. The Red List indicates that of the 63,837 species assessed, 19,817 are threatened with extinction. Those threatened include 41% of amphibians, 33% of reef building corals, 25% of mammals, 13% of birds, and 30% of conifers. Frogs and toads, with 5,532 species, drive the average threat level for amphibians as a whole with 31.6% (1,749 species) either in danger or extinct.

Food for thought, although perhaps that’s not quite the right expression.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s