March 03, 2008 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Twinsburg, OH - It's Leap Year! Wild Republic has created an offering in support of The Association of Zoo and Aquarium’s 2008 Year of the Frog nature conservation effort.

Wild Republic joins zoos and aquariums across the country to promote the AZA’s Year of the Frog campaign that engages the public about the current amphibian extinction crisis to raise awareness and while raising funds for AZA amphibian conservation efforts into the future.

Recently appearing at the International Toy Fair, held in New York, Jim Maddy, President of the AZA, discussed The Year of the Frog initiative and promoted the wide range of frog product that Wild Republic offers in support of the program.

Kim Hammeren, Marketing Director, Special Projects, at Wild Republic, said, “We always work closely with the AZA and it is only appropriate that we highlight this initiative through our wonderful offering of toy and plush products. Frogs have always been a best seller and we are pleased to support the AZA with our products.”

Documented as a major marker of nature’s ecosystems, amphibians are the first creatures to show signs of any imbalance in the environment. According to the AZA, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) estimates that at least one-third of known amphibian species are threatened with extinction. The major culprit has historically been habitat loss and degradation. However, many of the declines and extinctions previously referred to as "enigmatic" are now being attributed to the rapidly dispersing infectious disease chytridiomycosis, which is caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd).

The combined effect of habitat destruction, climate change, pollution, and Bd cannot be addressed solely in the wild. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, with their demonstrated expertise in endangered species breeding programs, have been called upon to meet this conservation challenge

The Wild Republic Year of the Frog products join the company’s famous hanging plush monkeys, and products lines that include The Steve Irwin Adventure Series, Australia Zoo's Bindi Irwin products, Morphs, Cuddlekins, Blanket Pillow Buddies, Audubon Birds, Paws & Claws, Vibes, Know & Grow development toys, Garden Accents, and licensed lines for National Geographic’s Arctic Tale documentary and Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure IMAX® film.

Wild Republic, the nature toy brand of K&M International, Inc., is a preeminent brand of action-driven, nature-themed toys designed to spark a child's imagination and educate about the wonders of the wild through creative play. K&M International, Inc., headquartered in Twinsburg, Ohio, near Cleveland, is the leading provider of nature-themed toys to the specialty toy and gift markets. The brands' consumer Web site is located at www.wildrepublic.com.