There is now a growing concern about climate change driving various species towards extinction worldwide. Now, a new study has found that climate change is endangering amphibian species worldwide and threatening 136 of 426 species in India.
An international team of researchers said that current and projected climate change effects are estimated to have led to 39% of status deteriorations since 2004, followed by habitat loss, which has affected around 37% of species in the same period, as reported by the Press Trust of India (PTI).
"Among the states with high amphibian diversity, Kerala has 178 species of which 84 are threatened, Tamil Nadu is next with 128 species of which 54 are threatened and Karnataka is in third place with 100 species of which 30 are threatened," study author Gururaja KV said in the PTI report.
In India, Western Ghats were among the regions with concentrations of threatened species, the study shows. Other regions included the Caribbean islands, Mesoamerica, the tropical Andes, the mountains and forests of western Cameroon and eastern Nigeria, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka. The findings, part of the second Global Amphibian Assessment, are based on the evaluation of 8,011 species for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
The landmark 2004 Global Amphibian Assessment (GAA1) showed that amphibians were the most threatened class of vertebrates worldwide, and has been widely used to guide and motivate amphibian conservation efforts, the study explains. It was published recently in the journal Nature.
For this study, the researchers examined the second Global Amphibian Assessment, which was completed in June 2022. It re-evaluated the species from the first assessment and increased the number of species assessed. The researchers found that the status of amphibians has continued to deteriorate and 40% of species studied are categorized as threatened. The primary driver has shifted from disease to climate change, the authors suggest.
"The results will strongly highlight how the national level priorities for species conservation need to be aligned to the change in the status of amphibians and the threats that impact amphibians. It should trigger consultations within countries on priorities and fundraising for amphibian conservation efforts," Karthikeyan Vasudevan, paper co-author and chief scientist at CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, told PTI.
According to the study, documented amphibian extinctions continue to increase. There were 23 by 1980, an additional 10 by 2004 and four more by 2022, for a total of 37.
The authors have called for urgent investment and policy responses to address the decline and support the survival of amphibian species.
(With inputs from news agencies).