IUCN SSC Amphibian Red List Authority
In 2004, IUCN completed the first Global Amphibian Assessment. This produced shocking findings: amphibians – frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and worm-like caecilians – are the most threatened class of vertebrates. Around 41% of species are threatened, and several are already extinct.
Amphibians face all the same threats as other species groups, but two additional factors put them especially at risk. First, many amphibians naturally have tiny world ranges, in a few cases just a few hectares – and so their entire habitat can very easily be wiped out. Second, deadly fungal diseases, termed chytridiomycosis, are causing catastrophic declines and extinctions in hundreds of species, with no known cure in the wild.
In view of the rapidly changing conservation situation for amphibians and the fact that 100-200 new amphibian species are described each year, it has become urgent to update the IUCN Red List accounts for these species so that we know exactly what amphibian conservation work needs to be done, and where. This work is therefore updating the original Global Amphibian Assessment, and is referred to as GAA2. It is coordinated by the Amphibian Red List Authority (ARLA) of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. Global Wildlife Conservation are paying for two full-time staff to work for ARLA. However, two people are not sufficient to manage this enormous amount of work, which covers 7,700 species and involves over 500 experts. As a result, Synchronicity Earth and Rainforest Trust jointly co-fund a third position to work for ARLA; this person works as a consultant to Synchronicity Earth in our Bath office.
GAA2 is proceeding well and is expected to be completed during 2019. This work is of very high priority, because without it we cannot have a clear understanding of global amphibian conservation priorities.