ROYAL OAK, Mich. February 24, 2012 – The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) will make good use of the extra day this year to raise awareness of amphibian conservation with special Leap Day activities. The DZS will host Leaping for Amphibians on Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Detroit Zoo’s National Amphibian Conservation Center (NACC).

Children can participate in amphibian-related games and create amphibian-themed arts and crafts.  Zookeepers will give talks about the amphibians at the NACC and the DZS’s conservation programs.  Also jumping into the celebration will be Cha! Cha!, the Rainforest Café tree frog mascot.  All Leap Day activities are free with regular Zoo admission.

Leaping for Amphibians is part of an international Leap Day effort to raise awareness of the important role amphibians play in gauging the health of the environment.   More than one-third of the planet’s 6,000 amphibian species are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, climate change, pollution, infectious diseases and other factors.  

“Amphibians are the proverbial ‘canaries in the coal mine’.  When hundreds of species of an entire class of animal are in decline, it signals a threat to many other species,” said DZS Curator of Amphibians Marcy Sieggreen.  “Zoos can play a critical role in amphibian survival, and Leap Day is the perfect time to raise awareness of this global crisis and suggest alternatives that could have a positive impact in our own backyards.” 

The award-winning NACC is a state-of-of-the-art facility situated on a two-acre wetland village called Amphibiville.  The attraction features a spectacular diversity of frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians, prompting The Wall Street Journal to call it “Disneyland for toads”.