Declining numbers in Amphibian species is a cause of concern for all conservationists and wildlife researchers across the globe as well as the country. And while the issues that aggravate this decline are many, we in Goa are faced with some specific problems that need to be addressed firstly at an individual level by each and everyone of us and then as a conscious society. I list below 10 simple ways to conserve frog and other amphibian populations in the state and help conserve this much neglected group of creatures of our environs.
1. Observe, appreciate and educate yourself, your friends and your family about amphibians and their kind. Read about them on the Internet or from a book in your local library. Or better still attend a talk or discussion being organized by wildlife lovers on frogs in the state.
2. Create amphibian safe environs in your backyard and neighborhood by saying no to frog poaching for meat and creating niche habitats like small artificial ponds, cool undergrowth and leaf litter to attract frogs of various species.
3. Do not pollute your immediate surroundings including gardens, farmlands and backyards by disposing non-biodegradable waste recklessly. Refrain from using chemical fertilizers and pesticides as they have severe impacts on local populations of amphibians and irreversibly damage habitats that are then beyond repair.
4. Voice your opinion in the right forums to garner support for amphibians and their kind. Start from your local Panchayat and Gramsabha and seek the attention of your Range Forest officer as well as your neighborhood Police Beat officer too. Collectively, everyone can contribute in their own way to ensure that frogs and toads are protected in their breeding season.
5. Convince and educate those who have relished “ Jumping chicken” in the past that it is illegal to hunt, capture and serve or consume Frog meat now under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Make your local restaurant as well as
6. Conserve all natural resources including water and soil. Rainwater harvesting not only helps the soil and helps maximize the usage of water for the earth, it also ensures that most species of amphibians benefit from such clean collected rainwater. Preventing the run off of soil also helps conserve frog habitats.
7. Be active and participate in drives, talks and workshops that address issues relating to amphibian decline, curbing of poaching of certain species and habitat conservation. Every individual’s support will surely go a long way towards conservation of amphibians in our ecosystems.
8. Reduce the use of fossil fuels and other substances that you know are damaging to the planet and induce Climate change. Remember, one of the single largest reasons for drastic decline in amphibian populations worldwide is Climate change. Buy CFL bulbs and use renewable energy systems like solar panels etc to help slow the rate of climate change.
9. Drive slowly and carefully in the monsoons. Road kills of certain species are on the rise in the state and a cause of concern. You surely have a right on the road as a drive but these creatures to have a right to live and need your respect!
10. Participate in the planning and decision making process of Land use development of your neighborhood. Appropriate care and sustainable planning can go a long way in ensuring that natural habitats are conserved and managed properly for posterity.
And while we as individuals can make a notable difference if any or all of these ways are practiced and accomplished in our everyday lives, it is up to Government agencies too, to pledge their support and provide it as and when required to conserve Amphibian populations in the state for posterity. Keep the faith.
By- Nirmal U Kulkarni