While the human population boom in Egypt continues unabated, there is a certain organism that is not so lucky. The croaking of male frogs has always been a familiar sound to the residents of Egypt. In recent years, however, the sound has all but disappeared. The once popular frog population has been steadily on the decrease.
Frogs were once abundant dwellers in the waters of the River Nile. They were so common during the time of the ancient Egyptians that they were called Hefen, the hieroglyphic word for 100,000. The hieroglyphic symbol for Hefen was a tadpole, since frogs gave huge amounts of these offspring. It was such an integral part of the ancient Egyptians' life that they depicted the goddess of fertility as a frog. Although the Egyptian frog has lived in Egypt since ancient times, it now faces a multiplicity of problems. Once one of the most plentiful life forms in Egypt, it has nearly disappeared. The challenges frogs need to contend with are many, and humans form the bulk of their problems.
There are seven different types of frogs in Egypt. However, the most common is Bufo regularis, also known as the African common frog or the Egyptian matriculated frog.
Dr. Samy Zalat, a professor of biodiversity and evolutionary biology in Egypt's Ministry of Environment, was the first to acknowledge the problem. "The first thing we need to establish is this: Is there a threat to the frogs?" said Zalat.
He explained that the common frog is facing several challenges. Human expansion has caused extensive habitat damage for the frogs. Destructive pesticides that seep into the sewage system also cause poisoning and even mutation to large numbers of frogs and tadpoles.
back to Self-teaching Exercises