Lucy leads bid to save one of the world’s rarest frogs

Lucy Marland
Lucy Marland

A schoolgirl is fronting a global educational campaign to save one of the world’s rarest frogs - with the backing of naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

Nine-year-old Lucy Marland, from Chorley, joined forces with the University of Manchester after seeing a lemur leaf frog - one of only a few hundred in the world - at Manchester Museum.

The campaign, named Learning With Lucy, aims to educate primary school children in the UK and in the Guayacan region of Costa Rica, where the frog still survives, about the amphibian and its threatened rainforest habitat. It will also be used with Swedish schoolchildren and university students will take part in conservation work in Costa Rica.

Lucy said: “I am so excited to be part of this project because I love frogs and I am very worried about the lemur leaf frog and its survival. I want everyone to know that with a little effort, we can make a difference for these frogs and other endangered animals.”

The frog is one of the world’s most unusual - by day it has silver eyes and a lime green body, but by night its appearance transforms into chocolate brown eyes and skin. It also never leaves the trees.

Andrew Gray, curator of herpetology at Manchester Museum, oversees the amphibian collection and has worked closely with Sir David Attenborough on several BBC television series.

Sir David said: “I wholeheartedly support Manchester Museum’s campaign, headed by Lucy Marland, to save the lemur leaf frog. It is after all, one of the world’s most unusual and rarest amphibians – and it is in real trouble.”

Andrew said: “It was incredible to witness the instant effect this tiny amphibian had on Lucy. She decided there and then that one day she would be a zoologist and once home, with the help of her mother Marie, she wrote to the university and it all happened from there. It all starts with you, our theme, is about each and every one of us making an impact on the world around us.

“That someone so young can fully grasp that concept, immediately take it on board, and actively start doing something about it is extra special.”

The campaign will involve educational resources, a booklet and field trips.