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Biologists prepare to save several species from extinction in Haiti

Blair Hedges, a biologist at Penn State University, will be leading rescue missions in Haiti to help prevent an entire species of frogs and other plants and animals from going extinct.

Hedges recently helped relocate ten endangered species of frogs from Haiti. They were brought to a captive breeding program at the Philadelphia Zoo where there are hopes to repopulate them.

"The decline of frogs in particular, because they are especially vulnerable, is a biological early-warning signal of a dangerously deteriorating environment, just as a dying canary is an early-warning sign of dangerously deteriorating air in a coal mine," said Hedges. "When frogs start disappearing, other species will follow and the Haitian people will suffer, as well, from this environmental catastrophe."

Hedges' rescue missions are a part of a new initiative by the National Science Foundation which is set on learning what species on the island nation are currently surviving, and to also discover new species that have gone undetected by the scientific community.

Currently, one-third of the 6,000 frog species on Earth are in danger of becoming extinct, due in large part to disappearing habitats.
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