Think Local: Save the Frogs!


Save the Frog - Liz Grogan

In the world of preservation all animals may be equal, but some are definitely more equal than others. We tend to focus on exotic endangered species rather than our own “mundane” local ones, even those in great danger.
There is no reason to believe that tigers are ecologically more valuable than Colorado’s own boreal toad, yet there are hundreds of “Save the Tiger” campaigns, and zero “Save the Toad” lobbyists. Plants are ignored completely. Most people don’t even realize plants can, in fact, become endangered, and are just as necessary for a stable environment as animals.

Thousands of species on this planet are facing extinction due to human destruction. The World Conservation Union lists 3246 species that are critically endangered, with thousands more endangered, vulnerable, or threatened. Less than 300 Sumatran tigers are left in the wild. 150 Iberian lynx survive in all of Europe. There are only 125 kakapos, a type of parrot, still alive. Echo parakeets are finally recovering from a drop to 10 individuals in the mid-80s. So yes, some species are more endangered than others, and most of those do not live in Colorado.

Thirty-three endangered plants and animals live in Colorado. Amphibians face fatal mutations because of our polluted rivers. Fish are dying off and unable to reproduce because of hormones and heavy metals in the water. Not to mention the effects of development and overfishing. Birds have trouble migrating because city lights interfere with their navigation. Large carnivores such as wolves, lynx and grizzly bears are either extinct in the state or nearly so. As long as we live here, we cannot forget about those 33 species. No matter how boring they may seem to us, we need to do all we can to protect them. Without them, our entire ecosystem will collapse.

You can find a complete list of local endangered animals here and plants here.

– Liz Grogan