Maryland-based wildlife biologist Rich Mason has long dealt with his friends’ encounters with wildlife forms who live in the vicinity of humans around the United States. His number was usually the first acquaintances would dial when they would discover a snake in their garages or something sinister in their gardens. However, despite all of his experience, it wasn’t until 2004 that the scientist realized how threatening backyard pools can be to the lives of wild animals.
“In June of 2004, good friends who had recently built an in-ground swimming pool on their wooded lot near Baltimore, Maryland, called to let me know frogs were dying in their pool,” Mason wrote on his official website. “This friend was pulling out dead frogs every day from their pool… I was kind of shocked.”
The biologist, who always had a strong interest in conservation of wildlife and their habitats, started doing his own research and soon found out how treacherous pools can be to animals. He discovered people looking for advice online on how to save frogs and other animals from drowning in their pools. It transpired many species don’t have the required motoric to get out of pools and usually end up stranded there. “There was no real research about this though … I was pretty surprised,” Mason says.
He also discovered numerous people found mice and chipmunks drowned in their swimming pools. “Pretty much any animal that walks around a suburban neighborhood could fall into a pool eventually,” Mason said. In a country where around 100,000 pools are built annually, the potential for loss of animal life is staggering, the researcher found.
“I said, ‘OK, let’s see if we can come up with something to fix this problem.'” It is how the animal escape ramp FrogLog was born in Rich Mason’s garage, although it took several prototypes made using some scrap foam and a sewing machine to get to a functioning product. “I bought some foam and made more devices and got feedback from more friends. It was pretty altruistic, just about helping animals,” Mason says.
The FrogLog consists of an inflatable platform with an attached mesh skirt, a weighted pouch that secures the device to the pool’s edge, and mesh ramp connecting the two ends. After tests at friends’ pools showed no animal casualties, Mason was soon selling hundreds of FrogLogs each year. After the thoughtful invention made headlines on The Dodo, it attracted nationwide attention, tens of thousands of social media likes and universal praise. “What a special human you are for caring about these seemingly insignificant lives…” one user commented.
More info: FrogLog
There are millions of backyard pools in the United States, with roughly 100,000 new ones built each year
Source:Jan Ballard Moher
In 2004, wildlife biologist Rich Mason was informed by a friend she had found 53 dead frogs in her pool
After realizing numerous species living near American suburbia are in peril, the innovator started making prototypes of a pool evacuation ramp
The first versions of FrogLog were made in the wildlife biologist’s garage using scrap foam
Several beta versions were tested by Mason’s friends, saving more than 50 frogs in the process
The FrogLog is a foam raft with a mesh ramp that hangs from a weighted pouch
The final adjustment was swapping the foam for an inflatable platform, after which the product went in retail
The reactions to the invention by animal lovers have been overwhelmingly positive
“The good part is we get such great feedback from people, really passionate emails saying this is the best thing since sliced bread,” Mason says
“It was such a relief to not find dead frogs in the pool’s filtration basket, or floating on the surface,” a Connecticut resident said. “I also had a resident bullfrog who lived comfortably in the pool, would haul out on the FrogLog for a rest, and use it to get into and out of the pool whenever he wished.”
Check out the unique contraption that’s saving countless wildlife specimen in the video.