Turkey’s water frogs facing extinction due to over-harvesting - report

Turkey’s Anatolian water frogs are facing regional extinction in a little over a decade because too many are being harvested as food, a new study has found.

The population of Anatolian water frogs had fallen by around 20 percent each year between 2013 and 2015 in the country's central deltas of Ceyhan and Seyhan, Euronews Turkish reported citing the study published in conservation journal Oryx.

Frog harvesting is a  $4 million annual industry, which Turkey has been engaged in for forty years. The country exports more than 36 million frogs annually, mainly to the European Union and the United States. Frogs are rarely consumed in Turkey.

The amphibians are used in French dishes such as cuisses de grenouilles à la Provençale or cuisses de grenouilles à la poulette. China uses frog legs as a fast food product. Frogs are either grilled or fried in the United States. 

"Can you imagine a world without the chorus of frogs?’’ Kerim Ciçek, one of the authors of the study carried out in partnership with Ege University, Middle East Technical University, Stony Brook University and the Turkish government, told Oryx.

"Declining amphibian populations worldwide could have an irreversible and destructive impact on both natural ecosystems and human welfare. They are integral components of many ecosystems, often constituting the highest fraction of vertebrate biomass,’’ Çiçek said.