Frogs at risk due to higher consumption of frogs legs in Switzerland
Frogs are under threat in several countries around the world due to the increasing demand for frog legs in Switzerland and the European Union (EU). A study carried out by the journal Nature Conservation found that frog species in India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey and Albania were all suffering due to the increased popularity of the dish.
Study’s authors call on governments to support sustainable practices
The authors of the study have called on European authorities, including the Swiss government, to take responsibility for the frog trade and ensure that the industry uses sustainable practices. “We call upon those countries and their representative governments to assume responsibility for the sustainability of the trade,” the authors wrote.
The researchers called out the European Union in particular, adding: “The EU should take immediate action to channel all imports through a single centralised database and list sensitive species in the Annexes of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulation”.
Switzerland imports around 65 tonnes of frogs’ legs and live frogs each year - most of the frogs come from Turkey. Native Swiss frog species are protected under Swiss law, but the importing of frogs from other countries is legal.
Anatolian frog from Turkey is the most imported frog in Switzerland
The most commonly imported frog in Switzerland is the Pelophylax caralitanus, commonly known as the Anatolian frog, which is the largest edible frog in Turkey. According to the report, this frog in particular has seen its numbers dwindle due to the increased consumption of frogs’ legs.
“Commercial overexploitation [of the Anatolian frog species] for the frogs’ legs trade in France, Italy and Switzerland has caused its rapid decline so that the species is now considered endangered,” the report’s authors claim. Frogs from other countries such as Indonesia and Albania are also in decline due to the trade, while frog numbers in India and Bangladesh previously dropped so low that the countries stopped exporting the animals to Europe.