From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1994:

Speakers at the American
Association for the Advancement of
Science annual meeting in San
Francisco in late February argued that
endangered species protection should
focus on species with few living rela-
tives and therefore a unique genetic
heritage. Amphibian expert David
Wake of the University of California
at Berkeley pointed out that the spot-
ted owl has many close relatives,
while a primitive tailed toad who
inhabits the same forest apparently
diverged from other frogs and toads in
the Jurassic era, 150 million years
ago. The value of spotted owl protec-
tion, he argued, lies mainly in the
spinoff value of protecting habitat for
more unique species along with the
owl habitat.

Oregon State University
zoologist Andrew Blaustein pub-
lished evidence in late February link-
ing the global decline of frogs and
toads to an increase in ultraviolet radi-
ation caused by the deterioration of
the earth’s ozone layer. Blaustein and
colleagues demonstrated that the
decline has not affected species with
high resistance to ultraviolet radia-
tion. Nearly 30 of the 86 frogs and
toad species native to North America
are believed to be in trouble, along
with 10% of the 194 amphibian
species native to Australia.
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