Amphibians have been identified as the most threatened group of terrestrial vertebrates. Nearly one third (32%) of the about 5,750 amphibian species are at risk worldwide, compared to about 12% of birds and 23% of mammals. The situation in British Columbia is equally bleak: 30% of the salamanders and 64% of the frogs and toads are listed as species of concern either federally or provincially or both. The causes of the declines are incompletely understood, but habitat loss, emerging diseases, and introduced species that prey on or compete with native amphibians have been identified as important factors.
Vancouver Island supports six species of salamanders and three species of native frogs. A further two species, the Bullfrog and Bronze Frog, are introduced and pose a threat to native amphibians. Many of these species also occur on the Gulf Islands, but the species present on each island are poorly known. This page provides a guide to quick identification of amphibians in the region with the objective of encouraging documentation of distribution patterns and monitoring populations. Monitoring persistence and trends of amphibian populations is particularly important on islands where suitable habitats are often limited and where expanding human populations continue to modify wetlands and forests. We need improved monitoring of amphibians both for management and conservation reasons.