Ending The Trade in Wild-Caught Frogs

Tens of millions of amphibians are sold worldwide annually, and there are a growing number of issues that amphibians face because of the pet trade. Most amphibians are taken out of the wild to be sold as pets; many unwanted pets die in captivity or are released intentionally into the wild; and this unregulated trade of amphibians is a known vector of the deadly chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and other infectious diseases.

frog3The pet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and is highly unregulated. As such, few countries keep accurate records of what species are being imported and exported. Furthermore, most countries (including the United States and those of the European Union) have no laws against importing in chytrid-infected amphibians. Thus the pet trade is partially responsible for the widespread decline in amphibian populations.

Wild-Caught Amphibians

Many amphibians are taken from their homes in the wild to be sold into the pet trade. Brightly coloured frogs are highly desired by pet collectors. Most amphibians taken from the wild will travel thousands of miles in crowded, unsanitary conditions around the globe and usually end up in the USA, Europe, Japan, China, and Taiwan.

frog2Several million wild-caught amphibians are legally imported into the USA each year; many others are harvested domestically for trade within the USA. Considering that there is also a large black market trade (the numbers of which are never reported) and that the USA accounts for only about 15% of the world’s amphibian trade, it is likely that well over 100 million amphibians are removed from the wild each year. This level of harvest is without a doubt unsustainable, and is a large contributor to population declines in many regions.

It is important for consumers to know where the pet frogs being sold originate from. Most of these species come from rainforests in developing countries where few harvesting regulations exist, and few people have no alternative employment and thus collect frogs for exporters. In 2002 a scientific paper was published about the discovery of a brilliantly coloured and rare newt from Laos. Once the paper was published, commercial dealers began collecting this newt for sale into the pet trade. The dealers actually used the geographic description in the paper as a “roadmap” to find the rare newt. This was quite unfortunate as the rarity of the newt increased the price. In Germany this newt was being sold for 250 dollars each. However, locals were being paid less than 20 cents to capture these newts. Such beautiful animals are the unfortunate victims of their own colouration and can be over-harvested to the point of extinction if no regulations are put in place.

Read more on this article here: http://savethefrogs.com/actions/pets/index.html


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *