At a time when charismatic ‘megafauna’ attracts a lot of attention in the area of wildlife conservation, there is also a need to reflect on the conservation of smaller, but equally significant fauna around us. Amphibians are a critical part of a healthy natural world and in addition to their intrinsic value as a fascinating part of nature, they are important and beneficial in many ways. It is to build awareness on the need for conservation of these species and highlight their role in the natural world that WWF-India has launched FrogFest, an exhibition that celebrates frogs in art and nature.
Amphibians are one of the most threatened group of animals. According to reports, over 7000 species of amphibians (frogs, toads, and salamanders) have been documented globally so far and more are being discovered. The Frogfest includes an exhibition of a personal collection of frog artifacts from over 40 countries, belonging to Seema Bhatt and a rendering of frogs in folk as well as contemporary art by young artists and has been curated by Aditya Arya and Mamata Pandya. The exhibition is an unique event highlighting the role of art in conservation and how it can help build conversations around issues that need prominence. The display of the artifacts is supported by a series of panels that highlight the conservation significance of frogs in nature and offers a peep into the fascinating world of frogs in India and the important initiatives to conserve them. The event has been further enhanced by expert inputs from Dr. Biju and Dr. Gururaja, India’s foremost amphibian scientists.
The exhibition will be launched on January 15, 2018 and will be open to students and the general public until April 2018 at the WWF-India office in New Delhi. During this period, FrogFest will be celebrated with a range of events and activities including guest lectures, film screenings nature games.
Frogs are important indicators of the health of their environments because they are extremely sensitive to changes in air and water quality, to moisture levels and to temperature. They can be compared to the “canaries in the coal mine”. When amphibians show declines in the wild, it serves as a warning to other species including humans. There is also a deep significance attached to frogs in almost every culture across the globe. Many a myth has been generated perhaps due to the fact that frogs undergo a metamorphosis from tadpole to adult frog and thus change appearances quite dramatically. Caricatures of the frogs have become popular, thanks to Kermit the frog on the television series, Sesame Street.