Sunday, August 10, 2008

Conserve the Indian Bull Frog

Almost everyone in Goa can recognize frogs and toads, to put it in a better way those that can be eaten and that cannot be…and we all know by now that certain species of amphibians are locally declining in most parts of the state and is a cause of concern not only for herpetologists like me but also for Health officials and medical practitioners as they all know that the frog species in question, i.e. the Indian Bull frog and some other species are primarily responsible for the curbing and keeping in check the larvae of mosquitoes and other invertebrates that transmit water borne diseases especially during the monsoons.

But mass hunting in their niche habitats, fields, lakes, plateaus, etc locals has taken a heavy toll on frog populations especially in the last 5 years as the demand for Jumping chicken has drastically increased all across the state.

That their habitats are also being wantonly altered and destroyed at a rapid pace is another fact and this is further pushing this flagship amphibian species to the brink of local extinction in many areas of the state.

The need of the hour is to understand the importance of the amphibian species like the Indian Bull frogs in our ecosystem and conserve them and their habitats in whatever way possible.

While Frog hunting and serving of frog meat as Jumping chicken is illegal and banned in the state, there is very little enforcement of this ban and the authorities responsible for implementation, i.e. the Goa Forest Department and the Goa Police need to work in unison for the execution of this ban on a war footing.

As for NGO’s and activists are concerned, the networking has died down and so has the interest for this issue, thus making it difficult o reach out to the masses for creating awareness about the practice of illegal hunting.

The initial thrust of the campaign has now died down resulting in Indian Bull frogs being poached all across the state and what now needs to be seen is whether the Goa Government through its various agencies is able to implement the ban on frog hunting and truly celebrate 2008 as the year of Frog till the very end of the monsoons, as declared by international agencies and herpetologists across the world or let hundreds of frogs be slaughtered to satisfy our taste buds and ignore the imbalance it causes to the local ecosystem as well as our lives.

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