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FROG AFICIONADOS LEAP TO RESCUE OF VANISHING CROAKERS.



Byline: Timothy Egan The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 Times

Consider the obvious handicaps of frogs: they are ugly, squat and live in places that evoke images of politicians at their sleaziest. Pond scum pond scum, accumulation of floating green algae on the surface of stagnant or slowly moving waters, such as ponds and reservoirs. One of the commonest forms is Spirogyra.  is their home.

Yet, warts and all, the four-legged amphibian's profile has never been higher. At a time when anurans (frogs, toads and similar amphibians amphibians

members of the animal class Amphibia. Includes frogs, toads, newts, salamanders and cecilians all capable of living on land or in water.
) are disappearing from the Earth at an alarming rate, frogs have improbably attained a rank of animal celebrity once reserved only for the cute and cuddly.

Last month, after congressional Republicans agreed to lift a year-old moratorium on new additions to the list of endangered species endangered species, any plant or animal species whose ability to survive and reproduce has been jeopardized by human activities. In 1999 the U.S. government, in accordance with the U.S. , the California red-legged frog The California Red-legged frog (Rana aurora ) is a sub-species of frog within the family Ranidae also known as the "true frogs". It was earlier classified as a subspecies, Rana aurora draytonii  joined wolves, eagles and grizzly bears among the list of creatures given federal protection. It was the first species to be listed after the moratorium ended.

The selection by the Clinton administration Noun 1. Clinton administration - the executive under President Clinton
executive - persons who administer the law
 of the red-legged frog Red-legged Frog is a common name for two alike kinds of frog of the west coast of North America, which are also known, in distinction from each other, as the Northern Red-legged Frog and the California Red-legged Frog. , the amphibian amphibian, in zoology
amphibian, in zoology, cold-blooded vertebrate animal of the class Amphibia. There are three living orders of amphibians: the frogs and toads (order Anura, or Salientia), the salamanders and newts (order Urodela, or Caudata), and the
 celebrated by Mark Twain in his story about a legendary leaper in this old Gold Rush town, attests in part to the surge of frogophilia sweeping the land.

Frogs are on fancy shirts, restaurant doors and wine labels. When Anheuser-Busch decided to lose the obnoxious partying people and roll out a cast of toads for its big Super Bowl ads two years ago, the response was phenomenal. Today, the beer maker says, more people drink Bud because they saw a bunch of toads get their tongues stuck on beer trucks.

The Internet has become a big habitat for frogs, too. Many neighborhoods are without real frog sounds, but on the World Wide Web, virtual croaks are ubiquitous. On the Froggy Frog´gy

a. 1. Abounding in frogs.
 Page(http://www.cs.yale.edu/HTML/YALE/CS/HyPlans/loosemore-sandra/froggy .html) browsers get frog jokes, frog fables, frog gossip and answers to commonly asked frog questions.

Kermit ``It's Not Easy Bein' Green'' the Frog, has appeared at the Oxford Debating Society a society or club for the purpose of debate and improvement in extemporaneous speaking.

See also: Debating
, and last month gave a commencement speech at the Southhampton College of Long Island University. It wasn't a completely smooth lily-pad ride for Kermit, however. One student at Southhampton, Samantha Chie, complained about laboring for five years ``only to have a sock talking to us at our commencement.''

The children's book series featuring Frog and Toad, two grumpy anurans, has become a huge seller, rivaling the Curious George books.

Even U.S. senators now try to cloak themselves in the frog's glow. At a news conference in which he announced his relationship with the gossip reporter Claudia Cohen, Sen. Alfonse D'Amato of New York said, ``I feel like the frog that was kissed by the princess.''

The pair has since broken up, and D'Amato has not made any recent personal references to the amphibian world.

Behind the frog's popularity is this paradox: it seems that many things human and wild become objects of infatuation just when they are dying out. Indians became icons only after the last free-roaming tribe was effectively wiped out at Wounded Knee more than a century ago. Wolves were big, bad predators, with bounties on their heads, until they vanished from all but a handful of states.

Frog populations are now plummeting around the world. In North America, it is estimated that one-third of the continent's 86 species of frogs and toads are in trouble.

Like canaries in mines, frogs in nature are considered an indicator species - their decline signals a loss of life and biodiversity throughout an area. Along the Wasatch Range in Utah, for example, Mormon pioneers knew that clean water could be found wherever frogs existed. They followed the croaks.

Today, rana pretiosa (the pretty spotted frog), a once common species, is disappearing from Utah - a victim, biologists say, of pesticide spraying, cattle grazing and draining of wetlands for new housing developments.

In fighting to save endangered species, scientists have always bemoaned the fact that it is the good-looking animals - the so-called charismatic megafauna - that get all the attention, while the uglier, slimier critters become metaphors for the environmental movement in Pat Buchanan's stump speeches.

Maybe the frog has taken a leap up the ladder of public approval.

``My guess is that the Fish and Wildlife Service picked red-legged frogs as the first species to be protected since the moratorium was listed because they are really in trouble,'' said Rodger Schlickeisen, director of the Defenders of Wildlife Defenders of Wildlife is non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1947 out of concern for perceived cruelties of the use of steel-jawed leghold traps for trapping fur-bearing animals. .

``But if they can bring around critics of the Endangered Species Act The federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) (16 U.S.C.A. §§ 1531 et seq.) was enacted to protect animal and plant species from extinction by preserving the ecosystems in which they survive and by providing programs for their conservation. , I'm all for it. We all grew up as kids with frogs.''
COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 16, 1996
Words:735
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