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Turkish frogs are becoming extinct

ANTALYA – Doğan News Agency | 9/6/2009 12:00:00 AM |

The ecology of Turkey’s Mediterranean region is being corrupted day by day, said Selami Tomruk, an expert on snakes and the founder of Eko Park in Antalya.

The ecology of Turkey’s Mediterranean region is being corrupted day by day, said Selami Tomruk, an expert on reptiles and the founder of Eko Park in Antalya’s Kemer County.

According to Tomruk, the Turkish frog, also known as Rana holtzi, and the European tree frog, or Hyla arborea, both face extinction.

The insensitive application of pesticides, the drying up of lagoons and the hunting of frogs for export to France, where they are a part of the national cuisine, are among the factors threatening the frogs, Tomruk said.

There are around 1.5 million of the two species of frogs in the Mediterranean region according to Tomruk, who said their extinction would lead to disaster. “A frog eats 3,500 bugs and mosquitoes a day. There is an ecosystem chain: The frog eats the bug and the bug eats others,” Tomruk said. “When a species goes extinct, that makes the chain break. That is why frogs have important duties in nature, like all living beings that are a part of this chain. The extinction of those beings or their reduction in numbers would cause bugs and mosquitoes to increase.”

According to Tomruk, the use of pesticides to kill mosquitoes in urban areas is a great mistake because it also kills beneficial insects. In addition, every dead mosquito leaves thousands of eggs behind, so the spraying does not have its desired effect. And since some bigger flies and bugs can survive the poisoning, frogs and small lizards that eat those bugs – and the snakes that eat them – also get exposed to the poison. In the chain of the death caused by the mosquito pesticide, Tomruk added, “the hawk that hunts the snake dies, too.”

Urbanization of the frogs’ natural habitat is also a threat and should be balanced by building artificial lagoons to expand their habitat, Tomruk said.

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