Sydney, Australia, Aug 20 (EFE).- Some 26 species of frogs of the 240 that inhabit Australia territory, many endemic, run the risk of disappearing before 2040 due to a fungus that attacks them and the effects of climate change, according to a scientific study published Friday.
“They will almost inevitably be extinct in the next 20 years,” said Graeme Gillespie, director of ecosystem management at the Environment Ministry of Australia’s Northern Territory, and one of the authors of the research.
According to the study published in the journal “Pacific Conservation Biology,” about four species, including the southern corroboree frog and the Baw Baw, are at greater than 50 percent risk of disappearing in 20 years due to the chytridiomycosis fungus.
This pathogen – which affects the keratin of frog skin, essential for the regulation of humidity, the exchange of respiratory gases, immunity or defense against predators – reproduces better in humid and cold environments, such as high areas covered with tropical forests of the state of Queensland.
Five other species such as the Kroombit are at moderate risk of disappearance, with a 30 to 50 percent probability, due to climate change, because the heat has an impact on the humidity levels of the frog habitats.
“Climate change also increases the frequency, extent and intensity of fires, which have affected half of the (26) species identified in recent years,” according to an article led by Gillespie and published in “The Conversation” magazine, which also points to the loss of habitats or predators such as wild pigs and trout as threats.
Australia has already lost two species of frogs in recent years, which were characterized by swallowing fertilized eggs and then regurgitating live young, but “there is always an opportunity to save species from extinction,” said Gillespie.
Among the measures recommended by Gillespie and almost 30 academics, experts and officials are the creation of natural and artificial refuges in which better conditions for the survival and reproduction of frogs are reproduced, as well as the elimination of predators.
“Removing one threat increases resilience against others,” stressed Gillespie, insisting on the need to protect the “intrinsic value” of each animal so as not to “diminish the natural legacy of Australia and the planet to future generations.” .EFE