Action: Use legislative regulation to protect wild populations
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- One review found that legislation to reduce trade in two frog species resulted in the recovery of the over-exploited populations.
- One study in South Africa found that the number of permits issued for scientific and educational use of amphibians increased from 1987 to 1990.
Species can be legally protected, either nationally or internationally. Levels of protection vary but can be to prevent capturing, keeping in captivity or trading species. Such activities may be legal for certain species provided that permits are obtained from government licensing authorities.
Other studies investigating the effect of legally protecting species are discussed in ‘Residential and commercial development – Legal protection for species’.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A study in 1987–1990 of permits issued for amphibians in the Cape Province, South Africa (Baard 1992) found that the number issued for scientific and educational use increased over the three years. The number issued increased from 100 in 1987 to 380 in 1990. Data were obtained from the governmental licensing authority, Cape Nature Conservation. Permits obtained by scientists from institutions requiring study material and institutions requiring specimens for display or breeding were included. Permits obtained by private individuals to keep species in captivity were not included.
A review in 2011 (Altherr, Goyenechea & Schubert 2011) found that following legislation to reduce trade in green pond frogs Euphlyctis Hexadactylus and the Indian bullfrog Hoplobatrachus tigerinus, populations recovered from over-exploitation. Both species were categorised by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as stable in the 2010 IUCN Red List. Populations of both species had crashed in India and Bangladesh following unsustainable use in the frog leg trade. During three years of monitoring in India, it was estimated that 9,000 tonnes of frogs were removed from the wild for frogs’ legs. In 1985, green pond frogs and Indian bullfrogs were listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). India banned export of frogs’ legs in 1987 and Bangladesh followed in 1989.
- Baard E.H.W. (1992) Is legal protection of reptiles and amphibians in the Cape Province contributing to their conservation? The Journal of the Herpetological Association of Africa, 41, 92
- Altherr S., Goyenechea S. & Schubert D.J. (2011) Canapés to extinction: the international trade in frogs’ legs and its ecological impact. Pro Wildlife Defenders of Wildlife and Animal Welfare Institute report.