Sunday, 8 July 2012

Sent to the wild: 300 frogs saved in Karwar, India – via HerpDigest

TNN Jun 9, 2012, 04.04AM IST

PANAJI: A seizure of 300 Indian bullfrogs in a Goa-bound bus at Karwar has alerted officials and activists in both states to the possibility of an inter-state smuggling racket catering to the eateries in Goa's tourism belt.
Forest officials in Karwar tried to intercept persons carrying more than 300 giant frogs of the Rana tigrina species at the town's bus stand. "But seeing our men, they abandoned the gunny bags and escaped," Nagraj Naik, deputy conservator of forests, Karwar sub-division, said.
The smugglers were about to board a Goa-bound bus at Karwar bus stand on Tuesday. "We had received a tip off about it," Naik said.
After taking the frogs in their custody, the forest officials booked a case against the unknown offenders. The rescued amphibians were then dispatched straight to the local science centre where a function to mark world environment day was in progress.
The local minister and forest officials were present and briefed the press before releasing them into the wild. "We are keeping vigil and hope to arrest the culprits and bust the racket," Naik added. Green activists in the state said the supply from across the border is fuelled by the consumption in restaurants. "The restaurateurs pay a huge price for the frogs," Clinton Vaz, an environmental activist said. In Goa, patrolling by volunteers and forest department during the first monsoon showers, has helped curb the poaching to a great extent.
"But it is the suppliers who are caught while restaurateurs get away," Vaz said. Goa forest officials said they are alert to the possibility of inter-state smuggling of frogs. "We will take up the matter with our counterparts in Karnataka," D N Carvalho, deputy conservator of forests north Goa (wildlife and eco tourism) said.
The vehicles entering the state at the check-posts will be monitored, sources told TOI.

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