Thursday, May 4, 2017

9th Annual Save The Frogs Day

Mural Frog Art
Amphibians around the globe are in real danger with some 250 species have gone extinct forever in the last forty years, while one third species of total diversity (over 7500) are seriously threatened with extinction. These historically resilient animals that emerged very long ago (300 million years old) on this planet have been facing so much trouble recently due to human actions knowingly or unknowingly. 

Habitat fragmentation, land use change, pesticides use, over collection for food and pet trade, pollution, dissection classes, climate change, disease and so many other factors either individually or synergistically have challenged the survival of amphibians. Large populations of the general public are still uninformed about the importance of amphibians in ecosystem and the threats they face which have also contributed to the fast decline of these species. That’s why every year on the last Saturday of April, there’s a special day where all the amphibian lovers celebrate ‘International Save The Frogs Day’ in different parts of the world. The reason behind is to educate the uninformed public about amphibians and spread the message of frogs conservation.

Participants of Save The Frogs Day Session I
This year 9th Annual Save The Frogs Day was marked in Nepal on April 28 at Resources Himalaya Foundation (RHF), Sanepa, Lalitpur with financial help of WWF Nepal and support from SAVE THE FROGS! USA and EGH. The frog filled event had wider participation of school kids, university students, conservationists, academicians and professionals. Mr Biraj Shrestha, Research Officer of RHF and SAVE THE FROGS! Task force member was the event coordinator and supported by bunch of volunteers from EGH executed the event plan into action. There were stalls of frog face paint, frog tabling, merch and bake sale and lots of other activities which captivated the visitors.

Froggy volunteers
 Mural Art - Artists, Mr Karun Dewan and his friend leaded the mural frog art work on a huge white cotton cloth with designs of flowers, mushrooms, plants and amidst was a resting tree frog with a happy face. Later the coloring session was joined by every participant of the event from school kids to students and volunteers. The outcome was splendid.

Face painting - Ms Sabita Gurung with other volunteers represented their artistic frog designs on the body parts of visitors.

Frog Tabling and Merch Sale - This stall was the information centre for amphibians with frog info cards, paha conservation posters, t shirts and other merchandises for sale. All the proceedings go to amphibian conservation endeavors in future.

Photo Exhibition - Total 17 amphibian photographs representing over 8 species were exhibited with their general information and the locality they are known from.

Short Video Clips - In total six
a.       Life history of Frog (02:34)
b.      Disappearing Frogs (03:47)
c.       Frog, Chemical, Water, You (17:28)
d.      The Thin Green Line (Chemical Runoff) -06:36
e.      Amphibian Ark Appeal (04:59)
f.        Disappearing Frogs (03:47)

Bake Sale - Yum! Cream and cherry topping cup cakes designed to resemble like a frog head was at the bake sale. All the proceedings go to amphibian conservation endeavors in future.

Frog Talk & Felicitation - Dr Dinesh Raj Bhuju, General Secretary of RHF highlighted a much neglected fact that people have not actually understood frogs are real friends of human as they help farmers by controlling farm insects and checking the population of vector insects. 

We also had announced the open call for ‘SAVE THE FROGS! Junior Art Competition’ with deadline on April 25. We received a total of 39 submissions from grade III to IX students. The top three were awarded with froggy gift hampers from Dr Kamal Adhikari, Director of RHF. Later our guest of honor, Mr Ugan Manandhar, Deputy Director, WWF Nepal shared his few words about how necessary it has become that we need to think about frogs and not forget these tiny creatures amid the charismatic animals’ conservation only.

Video Message from Dr Kerry Kriger - Ecologist and Founder of SAVE THE FROGS!, US based amphibian conservation nonprofit, Dr Kerry Kriger sent a 12 minute video message specially for the Nepalese people for helping to spread out amphibian conservation message in Nepal through bunch of frog loving leaders who have successfully held Save The Frogs Day in past and greeted the organizers of this year’s event at RHF. He shared the history of Save The Frogs Day and how big it has grown in these years with more than 1000 events held since 2009 involving 60 countries.

Closing Remarks - Prof Dr Ram Chhetri, Chair of RHF had his concluding remarks about how anthropogenic activities have ultimately affected every living thing on this planet including frogs this time. Later, he handed certificates of appreciation to our volunteers whose tireless efforts have brought this event into a froggy fruition. 

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