I’m Natalia, a Sixth Form student who is currently doing a work placement at Froglife in London. I have first came into contact with Froglife by winning a competition by doing a video about rainforests and the threats that it faces. The rainforest functions lack economic value which explains why little to nothing is being done to give this issue the attention is deserves. In the video, I mentioned that it is home to over 10 million species of different plants and animals. This includes habitats of many species of reptiles and amphibians, who often hide in plain sight through camouflage.
However, now with the rapid increase of deforestation, they not only have to worry about their predators, as there are many more threats to their lives. Some of the very rear species close to extinction, such as the Golden Mantella, are being over-collected and illegally sold. Pet trade is the 4th largest commodity in the smuggling industry right after drugs, diamonds and weapons. This particular species are also under threat due to the deforestation destroying their natural habitats.
Deforestation also creates a domino effect on climate change and water cycles, creating very extreme weather conditions which not only destroy the habitats of the vulnerable animals but also take away their lives as they are not able to adapt to the new environment due to the changes happening rapidly. The Veragua Stubfoot Toad has suffered due to prolonged droughts, flooding, and harsh ultraviolet rays coming from the sun right after disappearing for 20 years and being re-discovered in the wild; it is still extremely close to extinction.
Another threat that reptiles and amphibians have to face are serious diseases which are to blame for the extinction of at least 170 species of frogs and toads. This has largely affected the Poison Dart Frogs who are sensitive to chytrid fungus. Nevertheless, another threat impacting their lives are humans, who force the destruction of their habitats caused by logging (often illegal) and farming. However, many people don’t realise that many species of frogs, just like the Poison Dart Frog, have toxins in their skin which often have a great medical value. Scientists use the poison to make painkillers. The ingredients in the poison act as perfect muscle relaxants, heart stimulants, as well as appetite suppressants.
The rainforest issue is worth the attention as whether we want it or not, it does have an impact on our lives to a certain extent even if we don’t realise it. A step in the right direction, no matter how small it is, will always have a positive impact on this particular issue. There are limitless ways of taking action towards deforestation, which will help millions of habitats, water cycles, oxygen production, as well as our own lives which will no longer be threatened by the impacts of disappearing rainforests.