Our Taste for Frog?s Legs May Put Amphibians On Path to Extinction

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A wood frog rests beside a chanterelle mushroom in the forest at Medvednica mountain overlooking Zagreb
A wood frog rests beside a chanterelle mushroom in the forest at Medvednica mountain overlooking Zagreb

The human race’s seemingly inexhaustible appetite for tasty frog’s legs may lead to the amphibians’ extinction.

According to a report by wildlife conservation groups entitled “Canapés to Extinction: The International Trade in Frogs’ Legs and Its Ecological Impact,” extinction of the species might arise either from the excessive killing of frogs in the wild (thereby, destroying the natural population); or by chytrid fungus, a plague that has occurred largely due to the frog trade.
The fungus is believed to have already killed 100-million frogs globally.

According to a report from Save the Frogs: "A recent study estimated that 62 percent of the bullfrogs entering California from Asian frog farms are infected with the chytrid fungus. Bullfrogs serve as perfect vectors for fungus, as the frogs can survive infection loads of millions of chytrid zoospores. Because the infected frogs don't die from the fungus, they are able to spread the pathogen to native amphibian populations."

Moreover, a report in Scientific American stated that every year an average of 2,280 metric tons of frog legs are imported into the U.S. (which may involve the killing of up to 1.1 billion frogs). In addition, 2,216 metric tons of live frogs are imported annually for sale in Asian-American markets.

Western Europe has an even greater hunger for the little green animals.

An average of 4,600 metric tons of frog legs is exported to the European Union every year – more than half to Belgium (53 percent), followed by France (23 percent) and the Netherlands (17 percent).

According to the report, most wild frogs are now imported from Indonesia, as well as from China, Vietnam and Taiwan (where they are farmed), India and Bangladesh, the previous principal frog exporters, over-harvested their frogs in the 1980s.

Wildlife conservationists are calling for more regulation of the international frog trade and to reduce hunting the animals.

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