Frogs matter - they play a vital role in the food chain, and some have been found to produce chemicals that cure human diseases. But a fungus dubbed "the amphibian smallpox" is making many species extinct. So scientists are mounting a rescue operation.
Frogs around the world are in decline. In recent years, scientists have documented frog population decreases of up to 80% in some areas. Habitat loss, climate change and pollution, are all playing a role in the disappearances. Another culprit is "chytrid" - a virulent fungal disease, thought to have originated in Africa, that's spreading around the globe. In parts of Central America the fungus is moving at around 20 miles (32km) a year. Once the fungus starts to kill the frogs, it kills them fast. However, there is now evidence that bacteria on the skin of the salamanders can act as a protection against fungal attack. There are recent efforts to develop this research, by looking for bacteria that may protect frogs in the wild - though scientists warn there is no immediate prospect of a miracle cure that will allow them to survive in chytrid-infected areas. Scientists are hoping that one day, if the hunt for a solution to the chytrid problem is successful, new baby amphibians may be able to leave the amphibian ark and return to their parents' forest home.