Thursday, 19 October 2017

Replenish the swamp: 7,500 trafficked Turkish frogs returned to wild


Five men arrested after police find minibus loaded with thousands of frogs in nets, allegedly part of lucrative export trade

Wednesday 18 October 2017 14.00 BSTLast modified on Wednesday 18 October 2017 22.00 BST

Turkey’s gendarmerie has released 7,500 frogs into the wild after capturing five poachers involved in one of the largest frog trafficking operations in the country.

The country’s state news agency said the men were detained when their minibus was examined during a routine check as they travelled through the Cappadoccia region. Officers found dozens of nets with thousands of frogs inside. The men were allegedly destined for Adana, where they intended to sell them to an exporter.

The export of edible frogs is a lucrative trade, with large markets in France and China where the amphibians are a delicacy. Turkey issues licenses for frog hunters, but it is only permitted in certain seasons and some frog species cannot be legally traded.

“We just released the frogs back to nature because they were caught without permission and outside permitted hunting areas,” said Hasan Hüseyin Doğançay, head of the district livestock agency, in a statement on the state-run Anadolu agency.

Doğançay said it was the largest poaching operation he had ever seen.

The number of captured frogs was huge in comparison to previous operations, said F Gözde Çilingir, a Turkish PhD candidate at the National University of Singapore, who studies conservation genomics of endangered animals. 



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