Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, together with other zoos and organizations, has launched the Amphibian Conservation Initiative to address the decline of amphibians on a global scale. This initiative includes the establishment of facilities and the training of staff, capable of quarantining amphibians and carrying out captive breeding programs. Once threats have been lowered or resolved, offspring of the amphibians will be released back into the wild.
Close to 6,000 known species of amphibians live in our world; however, many are going extinct at an alarming rate. Currently, almost 2,000 species are threatened with extinction; that is nearly 1/3 of the planet's amphibians. This percentage is considerably higher than other groups. For example, 23% of mammal species and 12% of bird species are at risk. In order to accurately assess the level of threat, a great deal of research needs to be conducted.
Declines in amphibian populations are due to many factors including loss of suitable habitat, logging, urbanization, pollution, and some agricultural practices. In addition, diseases, particularly the Chytrid fungus, are spreading rapidly through worldwide amphibian habitats killing entire populations.
Amphibians are vital to the ecosystem and research. Frogs and toads act as exterminators, controlling populations of insects such as mosquitoes, which may carry West Nile Virus and Malaria. Currently, skin secretions from some amphibians are being used in the pharmaceutical industry to help treat specific conditions, including cancer.
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, together with other zoos and organizations, has launched the Amphibian Conservation Initiative to address this issue on a global scale. This initiative includes the establishment of facilities and the training of staff, capable of quarantining amphibians and carrying out captive breeding programs. Once threats have been lowered or resolved, offspring of the amphibians will be released back into the wild.
The Amphibian Conservation Education Project (ACEP) aims to develop an understanding of how a mass decline of amphibians will affect the balance of nature; and to give area youth the opportunity to conduct a statewide amphibian survey to determine the viability of amphibian habitat and health. We cannot save amphibians alone. They need your help and you can make a difference.
Contact the Education Department at (402) 738-2092 or Scouts@OmahaZoo.com to inquire about training programs.
Amphibian Crisis Curriculum - Lessons and Activities
North American Endangered Amphibian Cards
Endangered Amphibians of North America - Poster
Amphibians of Nebraska
Located on the second level of the Elevator Building, a non public research area, is the Amphibian Conservation Area at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. This area is designed to house and breed amphibians threatened with extinction and is capable of holding up to 3,000 individuals and 50 different species.
Individual, bio-secure isolation rooms are set up for each species to prevent the spread of disease between species. Each room at Omaha's Zoo and Aquarium has its own heating and cooling unit and is completely sealed. Strict hygiene procedures are practiced by the keepers to prevent contamination.
Omaha’s Zoo and Aquarium has successfully produced and released Wyoming toad tadpoles and Puerto Rican crested toad tadpoles into the wild. In the future, offspring from additional species will be released once threats have been lessened.
Enter your information into our Amphibian database and help document your salamander. Click here - Amphibian Database or contact the Wildlife Safari Park Education Department at (402) 738-2092 with the following information about your salamader find should you spot one: Name, Address, City, State, Zip Code, Phone Number, Email Address, Location, GPS Location, General Description and Comments.
Remember, please do not touch or disturb the salamander, just let us know where you saw it. It’s that simple!
For more information contact the Wildlife Safari Park Education Department at (402) 738-2092 or scouts@OmahaZoo.com to inquire about training programs.