ONLY two species of frogs remain in Fiji and the growing threat to their survival could lead to their extinction.
While the rest of the world celebrated Save the Frogs Day yesterday, non-governmental organisation NatureFiji-MareqetiViti urged the people of Fiji to save the endemic frogs.
NatureFiji-MareqetiViti conservation co-ordinator Nunia Thomas said until humans arrived in Fiji, there used to be three species of frogs that roamed the islands.
"One of these frogs was so large that its legs were a delicacy to the first inhabitants of Fiji," she said.
"Now, only two of these species remain in Fiji. Not surprisingly, the large one became extinct within only a few hundred years of the arrival of our ancestors.
"Fiji's frogs are endemic. They are found nowhere else in the world but in Fiji."
Ms Thomas said the Fiji tree frog or Platymantis vitiensis and the Fiji ground frog Platymantis vitianus and megabotoniviti were very different from the cane toad.
"Fiji frogs are dependent on our native rainforests. They can die from dehydration if exposed to too much sunlight or heat from fires," she said. She said the endemic frogs had much smoother skin and could leap as far as a metre whereas the cane toad merely hopped a few centimetres.
"The next time you find yourself in our rainforest, take care not to cut down trees growing beside the river, do not burn unnecessarily in the rainforest or at the forest edge and do not use chemicals to fish in our rivers because our frogs will not be able to survive exposure to chemicals."