Malaysia: Stop the killing and save our paddy frogs, says nature group

BALVIN KAUR New Straits Times 4 Nov 26;

GEORGE TOWN: Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) has called on the federal government to completely ban the capturing, selling and killing of frogs, in view of the amphibian’s important role in our ecological system.

Its president S.M. Mohamed Idris said frogs are needed to control the insect population as they prey on mosquitoes, grasshoppers and flies, among others.

“Largely insectivorous, a frog can eat more than its weight (about 200 grams) each day and this can be translated into a significant amount of insects.

“Tadpoles feed on algae and plants, thereby keeping waterways clean, while some species feed on all mosquito larvae,” he said, adding that this includes Aedes mosquitoes which can carry the dengue and Zika virus.

“To control these diseases, we have to protect the frogs.”

Idris was speaking at a press conference at Jalan Kennedy here yesterday.

He pointed out in Malaysia there were two types of paddy frogs, Rana cancrivora and Rana limnocharis, which feed on insects in the paddy field ecosystem.

“The paddy crop serves as the insects’ food source and (the) frogs help to eradicate insect pests in rice fields. Frogs in the field reduce the population of stemborers and planthoppers, thus preventing rice sheath blight disease indirectly,” he said.

Idris said the frog population in Malaysia was already at risk with rampant jungle clearing and also environmental pollution.

“Being amphibians, toxic chemicals from the environment – both on land and in water – are easily absorbed through their thin permeable skin,” he said.

He added that polluted waterways have either killed them or cause grotesque mutation brought upon by endocrine disrupting chemicals.

“It is ironic that farmers appear to prefer spraying their fields with expensive toxic chemicals rather than use frogs for efficient pest control,” he said.

He is appalled that these paddy frogs are not valued for its role in pest control but caught and sold instead at the markets in Air Itam and Batu Lanchang.

“The Rana cancrivora is in great demand at the local restaurants. At the markets there is an irregular supply of frogs and they are readily snapped up whenever available.

“However, it is not known whether the voracious appetite for frogs has depleted the frog population in Malaysia as there has been no survey into their numbers,” he stated.

Idris also claimed that SAM is worried if the frogs sold in the market have been exposed to chemical pollutants, particularly endocrine disruptors, which could trigger cancerous tumours, birth defects, and other developmental disorders if consumed by the people.

He said the amphibian’s population has also been a serious concern lately as scientists and biologists worldwide have noted the mysterious disappearance of frogs and toads.

“In view of the benefit of keeping frogs and the dangers of eating them, the federal government should immediately impose a ban,” he stressed.


Ban sale of frogs, says SAM
The Star 7 Nov 16;

GEORGE TOWN: Frogs are being sold openly at markets here to the dismay of Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) which wants the Govern-ment to impose a ban on their capture, sale and killing.

SAM president S.M. Mohamed Idris said the amphibians should be protected as they played a role in reducing the mosquito population.

He said tadpoles fed on algae and plants, thereby keeping waterways clean.

He said the tadpoles of some frog species also ate the larvae and eggs of the Aedes mosquitoes.

“Mosquitoes carry diseases and kill 725,000 people worldwide per year. In Malaysia, there were almost 20,000 dengue fever cases last year alone,” Mohd Idris said in press release.

He also said that in Malaysia, there were two types of padi frogs — Rana cancrivora and Rana limnocharis — which were deemed ‘farmers’ best friend’ as they fed on padi pests such as stem borers and plant hoppers.

In demand: A trader seen selling frogs near the Air Itam market in Penang. (Inset) Farmed frogs being sold at the Batu Lancang market.
In demand: A trader seen selling frogs near the Air Itam market in Penang.
He said the number of frogs were decreasing due to the rampant clearing of jungles for cultivation and also due to pollu-tion from toxic chemicals which are easily absorbed by the am-phibians through their thin permeable skin.

“It is ironic that farmers prefer spraying their fields with expensive toxic chemicals rather than making use of frogs as efficient pest control.

“Herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilisers remain frogs’ biggest threat,” Mohd Idris said.

He said the Rana cancrivora was in demand by local restaurants.

“At the markets, there is an irregular supply of frogs and they are readily snapped up by housewives whenever available.

“However, it is not known whether the voracious appetite for frogs has depleted the frog population in Malaysia as there has been no survey into their numbers,” he said.

A check by The Star yesterday found frogs being sold openly at Air Itam and Batu Lancang.

A 45-year-old trader at the Batu Lancang market said he was selling about 20 frogs a day at RM12 each.

“I get my supply from a frog farm in Kedah,” said the man who has been in the business for four years.

A couple who sold frogs at between RM5 and RM20 each by the roadside near the Air Itam market said their customers included students who bought the frogs to be dissected in school for their studies.

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