People in Goa claim they have been feeding on frog meat since old ages as tradition to their culture. Frog meat is also common among the tourists who frequent Goa, especially the Russians and Spaniards. With a spurring demand for frogs which is only heightened during the months of monsoon, environment officials are citing growing concern regarding food chains.
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Ajay Saxena, Goa's Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, calls this practice unnatural. "People in Goa claim that eating frog meat is a tradition. I don't understand what kind of tradition is there when you are disturbing an food chain," he said in his speech in Panaji on the occasion of World Environment Day, June 5.
Poaching of frogs is illegal under the Wildlife Protection Act. But even with legal protection being provided for the frogs, it is of little help since poachers have become adept at what they do. Bringing in frog meat from the district of Uttar Kannada, these poachers are posing a dangerous threat to the stability of ecosystems. Frog meat is often referred to as 'Mountain Chicken' or 'Jumping Chicken', which serve as code words for its cross border smuggling.
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The food markets in Panaji and Margao, however, seem to be oblivious to this fact. This is because poachers often bypass the markets and serve directly hotels and restaurants, and are paid by the size of the frogs.
Poaching, smuggling and trade of wildlife accounts to over $290 billion all over the world, only next to drug smuggling.
Meanwhile, environmentalists have another concern. With numbers of frogs drastically reducing, snakes and pythons, which are their main predators, may soon start penetrating into human settlements in search of food.
-Written by Saurabh Bodas. Saurabh is an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: saurabhbodas96