Frog legs appetite in France and Belgium ‘leading species to extinction’ | endangered species

A voracious appetite for frog legs among the French and Belgians is pushing species in Indonesia, Turkey and Albania to the brink of extinction, a report says.

Europe imports up to 200 million wild frogs each year, contributing to dangerously depleting native species abroad.

Scientists estimate that the Anatolian water frog could become extinct in Turkey by 2032, due to over-exploitation while other species such as the Albanian water frog are now threatened.

Export quotas for the Indonesian Javan frog have also been withdrawn, a move that conservationists suspect may be the result of a depleted population.

Dr Sandra Altherer, co-founder of the conservation charity Pro Wildlife, who co-authored the report, said: “In Indonesia, as now also in Turkey and Albania, large frog species are dwindling in the wild, one by one, causing a domino effect. fought to preserve the species.”

“If the looting continues in the European market, it is very likely that we will see an even more serious decline in wild frog numbers, and possibly possible extinctions in the next decade.”

“Frogs play a central role in the ecosystem as insect killers – and where frogs are disappearing, the use of toxic pesticides is increasing. Thus, the frog leg trade has direct consequences not only On the frogs themselves, but on biodiversity and the health of the ecosystem as a whole.”

Amphibians are the most threatened group among vertebrates, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the European Union’s Habitat Directive prevents native wild frogs from being caught in member countries.

The mass of 27 countries does not restrict imports, however, about 4,070 tons of frogs caught abroad are served on European dishes every year.

Cravings for frog meat are highest in Belgium, which accounts for 70% of imports, but Pro Wildlife says most of it is then sent to France, which imports 16.7% directly. The Netherlands takes 6.4%.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature will publish a report on the state of amphibian conservation later this year, but Jennifer Ludtke, who manages the IUCN Red List assessments, said at least 1,200 amphibian species – 17% of the total – are traded on the international market. .

“It is causing a severe population decline in the countries from which these frogs originate, as well as the unintended spread of deadly pathogens to amphibians,” she said.

There must be a shift in public consciousness in Europe [to realise] The burden of these declines in amphibian numbers falls on poor countries because of the demand in richer countries.”

“We need to talk about sustainable use and if that’s possible,” said Luedtke, who also coordinates the IUCN group that specializes in amphibians.

Indonesia provides an estimated 74% of the frogs imported into the European Union, followed by Vietnam with 21%, Turkey 4% and Albania 0.7%, according to the report.

Overexploitation in non-EU countries has led the IUCN to assign poor and near threatened classifications to species such as the giant spiny toad in China and the Asian grass frog in Cambodia.

In Africa, fewer than 250 mature Togo slippery frogs are believed to have survived, and the African giant toad may have already become extinct in Swaziland.

Pro Wildlife and Robin de Bois say they want EU provinces to restrict imports, ensure frog leg products can be traced, provide better information to consumers, and develop proposals for listing endangered species in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

The ether also called for an end to cruel practices such as cutting the legs of frogs with axes or scissors without anesthesia.

EU insiders noted that it is unfortunate that the Pro Wildlife report will be published after the June 17 deadline for submitting listing proposals to the upcoming Cites Conference of Parties, which will take place in Panama in November.

A European Commission official said: “The European Union is ready to consider supporting any proposals coming from [Cites] range countries, for which there is scientific evidence demonstrating a risk that international trade threatens the survival of the species.”

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