/ 21 January 2009

Frogs about to croak, say researchers

Frogs face extinction because humans have developed a taste for their legs, Australian researchers said on Wednesday.

Up to one billion frogs are dying each year to satisfy a craving for frogs’ legs fried with garlic in countries as diverse as Indonesia and France.

”Frogs are already in a bad way throughout most parts of the world,” Adelaide University’s Corey Bradshaw said.

”The main driver is certainly habitat loss — so we’re already dealing with a group that’s being hammered — and we’re eating up to one billion frogs a year, so we’re not really helping them out much.”

A shift from seasonal harvesting to year-round consumption is blamed for putting frogs on the endangered list.

Bradshaw said frogs play a vital role in almost all ecosystems because they eat insects.

”Wild populations have depleted and countries have become concerned only now due to not having insect control for agricultural production.”

He recommended frogs be farmed the way some fish species are.

”We need to have a sustainable harvest level set and we need a certification programme not unlike the one used for crocodile skins,” he said.

Bradshaw worked with researchers in Canada, Singapore and the United States to quantify the number of frogs being eaten each year.

According to Wikipedia, frogs legs are often said to taste like chicken because of their mild flavour, with a texture most similar to chicken wings. – Sapa-dpa