Frogs in Goa: Frequently Asked Questions
Are frog populations in Goa really on the decline?
Yes they are. Bio-indicators as well as studies conducted by herpetologists and amphibian specialists in Goa confirm that frog populations are falling, just as it is in the rest of the world. Globally, frogs are disappearing at an increasingly rapid rate than creatures have ever done in the past 65 million years.
While studies in 1999 and 2002 were conducted by amphibian specialists in coordination with International agencies like the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), basic surveys and compiling of checklists have also been done by researchers at the Goa University’s Department of Zoology, the Goa Forest Department and others.
There is however, a need for long term monitoring of Goan frog populations as frogs found in Goa.
What are the reasons for this decline?
A number of threats to frogs exist, however, in Goa the chief threats are:
1. Catching, killing and consumption of frogs at the onset of the monsoons. Frogs end their aestivation after the first rains and come out to breed. This is when they are at their most vocal, and hence easy to track down and catch. And as most of the frog-hunting is done before the frog can breed, this has a drastic effect on the future populations of frogs.
2. The widespread use of fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture. Flooded paddy fields are a hotspot for frogs, and since frogs absorb water through their skin, they are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of residual chemicals in our fields.
3. Habitat destruction – filling of fields, clearing of forest cover are a few of the main reasons. Encroachment of forests by human activities such as mining, construction, etc have caused entire resident populations to disappear within a short period.
4. A significant global trend that is threatening frog populations as a whole worldwide include climate change, global warming, introduction of invasive species and spread of disease from farmed to wild frog populations.
Are some species more vulnerable than others?
Yes. In Goa, the Indian Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus Tigerinus) & the Jerdon?s Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus Crassus) are the ones most prized for their meat due to their large size. The Indian Pond Frog and Grass Frog are also occasionally hunted.
Burgeoning demand at restaurants illegally serving frog dishes have ensured that a pair of frog legs can fetch as much as Rs. 65-70 for the poacher.
Due to their falling populations, the Indian Bullfrog and the Jerdon?s Bullfrog are now on the Government of India?s Schedule-I list of threatened species as well the international IUCN Red List of animals that are facing a high risk of global extinction.
Ok, but why do I have to stop eating frog? What?s in it for me?
A lot more than you think?
Eating frog meat is very dangerous to human health. Due to the massive toxic pesticide residues that accumulate in the fat deposits of frog meat, consumption of frogs can trigger paralytic strokes, cancer, kidney failures and other deformities. Besides frog meat being contraband, frogs are usually killed in unsanitary conditions.
Frogs are like the pulse rate or the blood pressure of the Goan environment. Frogs are a crucial part of the ecosystem and a vital link as predator and prey in the food chain. If frogs go extinct, the ripple effect on the ecosystem will be felt by us all.
Frogs and tadpoles are voracious eaters, and consume millions of mosquitoes and mosquito larvae every year. One of the suspected reasons for the increase in cases of malaria and other vector borne diseases in Goa is the decline in the number of frogs.
The increasing incidents of snakes being found in urban & semi-urban areas is also being linked to the decline of frogs, their natural prey, and their subsequent shifting to alternate prey like rats that are more readily found in populated areas.
In Goan mythology frogs are believed to bring prosperity and good rainfall.
Are frogs protected by law?
Yes. The Government of India in 1985 declared a ban on catching and killing of wild frogs under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. This means that any person or restaurant found catching, killing, selling, serving or eating frog meat violates the provisions of the act. This would attract stringent punishment with a fine of Rs 25,000 and/or imprisonment upto 3 years. In 2008, 10 persons were detained and fined under this act.
So what can I do to help save the frog?
Firstly, stop eating frogs yourself and discourage others from doing so. If there is no demand for frog legs, frog-catchers simply won?t catch them. Secondly, if you come across people hunting frogs or restaurants serving frog meat, report it to the police (100/108) or any of these Forest Department officials, preferably the one closest to where you are ?
9423 889 890 (DCF Panjim Devendra Dalai)
9422 437 333 (CCF Richard D’Souza)
9422 388 188 (ACF Dr. Francis Coelho)
9422 437 237 (CF Yogesh)
9422 437 137 (DCF North Goa Shambhu)
2374 406 (FTS Valpoi)
9423 316 280, 2228772, 2220736 (RFO Campal Amar Heblekar)
9423 314 824, 2935800 (RFO Bondla Deepak B)
9423 055 919, 2612211 (RFO Mollem S. Gawas)
9422 059 237 (RFO Bhironda Prakash Salelkar)
9822 587 607 (ACF South Goa Anil Shetgaokar)
2750 246 (RFO Margao)
9822 157 139, 2965601 (RFO Cotigao Paresh P)
After reporting to the authorities, contact WildGoa volunteers at 9823-171-312 or 9890-936-828 (South Goa) and 9922-642-059 or 9822-522-119 (North Goa) who will record and follow up your complaint with the forest officials.
Who is Involved with the campaign
Save the Frog Campaign is coordinated by WildGoa, a Goa related network of Wildlife enthusiasts and NGOs. This awareness and enforcement campaign has been on for the last 4 consecutive years and is supported by the Goa Forest Department a number of local as well as International organizations including Amphibian Ark, Save The Frogs International, Botanical Society of Goa, Organic Farming Association of India, GOACAN, Earthworm, Green Essentials, WWF-Goa, Nisarga Nature Club, Vivekananda Environmental Awareness Brigade, & Mitra. For more information do visit www.savegoafrogs.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org To contact us, you may call us at the WildGoa volunteer phone numbers mentioned above.