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Last Updated:[10-09-2010 06:39:24 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Global Amphibian Trade Thrives on Porous Legal Framework



tradenews An interview on WOMM-LP, a non-commercial community radio station based in the US, between leading amphibian experts has disclosed - along with the trade and consumption of frogs and other related live forms, humans were piling up ecological disaster beyond climate change repair process. Dr Laurel Neme's, a wildlife writer and an international consultant specialized in natural resource management, interview with Alejandra Goyenechea, International Counsel at Defenders of Wildlife and Chair of the Species Survival Network's (SSN) Amphibian Working Group, in her own radio series has been able to give a clear picture on this issue.

The excerpts from "The Wildlife with Laurel Neme," a program that explores the mysteries of the animal world through interviews with scientists and other wildlife investigators thoroughly map out the dangers awaiting humans due to the reckless exploitation of amphibian population. The interview discussed various issues ranging from habitat loss, climate change, pollution, invasive species and disease to over-exploitation of amphibians, particularly frogs.

Furthermore, in the course of the discourse it also unraveled the existence of a surreal world of amphibian trade which includes frogs being turned beyond delicacies to pets, medicines and in scientific research. Major threat to the decimation of amphibian population has been from extensive legal and illegal trade resultant of the diversity of frog applications.

Goyenechea claimed that frogs could provide an ensemble of the quality of eco-system plus had anti-biotic and anti-tumor properties that could be taken from their skin. While Neme contributed by clarifying they were not only like canaries in a coal mine for environmental quality but had medicinal properties, and help us control insect-borne diseases and reducing pests. But even Neme was surprised to learn from Goyenechea that pregnancy tests had a frog history behind.

The amphibian expert said the US imported 4,000 tons of frog legs from 1998 to 2002, and from 2003 to 2007, more than 11,000 live amphibians imported from Latin America to the US were endangered or vulnerable with 99.6 percent coming from the wild.

According to Goyenechea, the frog leg trade at $40mn annually is way beyond danger mark though it seems pretty low in comparison with the fish trade at $42bn and the beef trade at $26bn per annum, as the frogs are largely sourced from the wild.

Goyenechea pointed out that the present regulations by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) or any other international laws did not have the ability to put tabs on amphibian trade. She laid out a host of reasons for that including understaffing, lack of continuing education programs for law enforcement officers, inadequate funds for implementation and most importantly, the absence of strong and uniform international trade laws cutting across trade zones.

By Jose Roy




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