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Frogs are being driven to extinction due to increased demand in Europe – but don’t blame the French

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A dish of frogs' legs

A dish of frogs' legs

A dish of frogs' legs

Europe’s appetite for frogs’ legs has triggered an “extinction domino effect” on wild populations of the amphibians in parts of Asia and Eastern Europe, wildlife campaigners have warned.

France is famous for its taste for cuisses de grenouilles, as frogs’ legs are known, but it is far from being the only EU country with a penchant for the delicacy, often served with parsley, garlic and butter.

EU states import about 4,070 tons of the speciality every year, the limbs of as many as 200 million frogs, according to Pro Wildlife, a German campaign group, and French non-profit NGO Robin des Bois.

That makes Europe the world’s biggest consumers of frogs’ legs, with large-limbed species – such as the crab-eating frog and the East Asian bullfrog – in particular demand. However, the majority of that haul is caught in the wild.

In a report, titled “Deadly Dish,” the two wildlife groups warn that the “over-exploitation of frog stocks for the EU market over decades has had dramatic consequences” on wild frog populations.

Most frog species are not protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), meaning that the sale of frogs’ legs is “poorly monitored or regulated, or not regulated at all”, the report states.

As a consequence, the amphibians are the most threatened group of vertebrates in the animal world.

“Large frog species are dwindling in the wild, one after the other, causing a fatal domino effect for species conservation,” said Dr Sandra Altherr, co-founder of Munich-based Pro Wildlife.

Indonesia has now leapfrogged India and Bangladesh to become Europe’s largest supplier of the delicacy, delivering more than 30,000 tons to European plates between 2010 and 2019.

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Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]


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