WSW: Each Piece Of Nature Matters "In Its Own Little Way"

May 25, 2017

Eastern Massasauga Rattle Snake
Credit Ryan Webb / Pierce Cedar Creek Institute

A National Geographic Explorer warns that “If amphibians start to disappear from the landscape then something is wrong.”


Jonathan Kolby has studied frogs in Honduras for 10 years. He says a mass extinction of frogs is being caused by chytrid fungus, which is still spreading. Kolby spoke with WMUK’s Gordon Evans during a visit to the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings.

Kolby came to the environmental education center in part to film the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. Kolby says the snakes have been dying because of snake fungal disease. He says the infection shares a lot of similarities with the amphibian chytrid fungus.

Kolby says the rapid extinction of frogs raises questions about what species humans will and won’t allow to go extinct. He says there are hard decisions to make. Kolby says the environment is like an airplane and each species is part of that plane. “You might have some of them fall off and everything is fine.” But he says “at some point one of those will be the bolt that holds the wing together, and then you crash.”

During his time in Honduras, Kolby has made an amazing discovery. He found a frog, whose species was thought to be extinct for 25 years. Kolby says that gives him hope that there could some frogs left of species that are believed to be extinct because of chytrid fungus.