Amphibians in Danger | Decline of the Amphibian Species

One of the most alarming drops in animal populations over the past several years has been the decline in the amphibian population. Amphibians are sensitive to changes in their environment. Many species of amphibians have already gone extinct or are in danger of going extinct.

Decline in Amphibian Population

In the past several years around 43% of all amphibian species have shown a decline in population. There are less and less of them each year. At the same time only 1% of amphibian species are growing in population.


In addition to the overall population decline, it is thought that around 160 amphibian species have gone extinct and that another 1,800 species are in danger of going extinct. That’s around 1/3 of all amphibians on the planet.

Causes of Decline

The exact cause of the overall decline in amphibian population is not fully understood by scientists. There are a number of things that have adversely affected different species of amphibians. It is likely that the decline is from a combination of several of the factors described below.

Loss of habitat – Perhaps the greatest threat to amphibians has come from loss of habitat. Humans have developed a lot of the areas where amphibians live. In addition, some amphibian species only live in a small area. Once this area is developed, that species is gone forever.

Water pollution – Amphibians generally live in or near the water. Also, their skin absorbs water and other chemicals. This makes them very sensitive to water pollution.

Air pollution – Amphibians breathe air through their skin making them also extra sensitive to air pollution.

Ozone depletion – It is thought that ozone depletion may hit amphibians harder than most animals. The extra radiation from the sun may harm their eggs and prevent their population from expanding.

Disease – Recently, several diseases have attacked amphibians and caused some decline in population. It is thought these diseases may be carried by humans.

Introduced species – Many lakes and rivers have been stocked with recreational fish (fish that people like to catch). Unfortunately, these fish often feed on amphibians and can cause a reduction in their population.

Why is this important?

Many scientists think that amphibians can give us a clue as to the overall health of the Earth. Amphibians are sensitive to changes in habitat and pollution. The decline in the amphibian population could be a sign of things to come in the future for other animals, if things continue to worsen.

What is being done?

Scientists around the world are sharing information about their findings on the health of amphibian species. Efforts are being made to protect their habitats and reduce pollution. Also, zoos are creating captive breeding programs to try and keep species from going extinct.