If we can discover the meaning in the trilling of a frog, perhaps we may understand why it is for us not merely noise but a song of poetry and emotion.
— Adrian Forsyth
© Michael Ready

© Michael Ready

Aside from the philosophical supposition that the world is simply a more interesting and beautiful place with amphibians, there are many practical reasons.

Amphibians have long played a key role in the advancement of biological sciences and human medicine. From using amphibians in high school biology classes to human pregnancy testing labs, humans have benefited from them in many ways. For example, poisonous compounds isolated from an Ecuadorian frog (Epibetadine) are being used to develop a painkiller that is many times more powerful than morphine but lacks addictive side effects. Medical researchers are exploring whether other amphibian-derived chemicals can be used to treat diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Some amphibian species can survive being frozen solid. Understanding the processes that make this possible could provide breakthroughs for developing cryogenic treatments that would allow human life to be suspended during prolonged surgery.

More recently, the role of amphibians in sustaining healthy ecosystems is being recognized. Amphibians consume an enormous number of insects and other potential pests. Some evidence suggests that the disappearance of amphibians may result in increased incidence of insect-borne disease such as malaria. A recent study from Panama suggests that the disappearance of amphibians may result in catastrophic ecosystem collapse. Although it might sound like a cliché, amphibians may be the canary in the coal mine warning us of imminent ecological disasters on a global scale. TWI believes that maintaining healthy amphibian populations will contribute to sustaining a healthy environment and strong economies, both of which humans need to support a high quality of life.