Europe’s frog hunger threatens wild frog populations

The high demand for frog legs in the EU is severely endangering the wild frog populations in the countries of origin. In order to prevent the extinction of animal species, measures must be taken as quickly as possible.


Bonn (Germany). European Union (EU) countries imported over 40 million kilograms of frog legs between 2010 and 2019. Around two billion frogs were killed for this in the countries of origin. A study by the Leibniz Institute to analyze biodiversity change in Bonn, published in the journal Nature Conservation , now shows that Europe’s frog hunger is endangering wild frog populations. The authors working with Mark Auliya therefore advocate that the EU implement measures to protect frogs as quickly as possible in order to prevent the animal species from becoming extinct .

“International trade in frogs’ legs is a black hole: whether it’s because of the lack of species-specific trade data needed to ensure sustainability, or because of the widespread mislabelling in trade, or the difficult identification of species once they’re processed, skinned, and frozen are.”


Frog leg imports from Asia

EU countries have been importing frogs’ legs for decades to meet high demand. A large part of it is spent in France. In the 1970s and 1980s, imports came primarily from Bangladesh and India. Because the South Asian wild frog populations have collapsed due to intensive hunting, the two countries have now banned the export of frog products.

Currently, frog legs are therefore mainly imported from Indonesia. Other countries of origin are Albania, Vietnam and Turkey. However, according to the study by the Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change, the stocks of large frogs with fleshy thighs in these countries have also fallen sharply in the meantime. This development creates a domino effect, with hunters moving on to the next species of frog when almost all specimens of one species have been captured.

Frog farms are not a solution

As the researchers explain, frog farms are not a solution because they have to be constantly replenished with new wild-caught animals. Another problem is that such companies not only raise native species, but also foreign species such as North American bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus). If these escape from a frog farm, they can proliferate in the environment, thereby threatening native amphibians.

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