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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6249901/

I thought I'd throw this out there for comments or speculations. The news story mentions over exploitation of amphibians for use as a food item, but they don't mention the pet trade. Are we contributing to the demise of the wild populations of the creatures we love so much or are they going to die off anyways (due to lost of habitat and pollution) and we're acutally "protecting" the wild type frogs (and other creatures) by raising and breeding them in this hobby?
 

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I can't speak for amphibians, but the reptile trade is decimating local populations of various reptiles throughout the world.

Collectors will go into 3rd world countries and pay locals what equates to an annual income to collect every reptile they can find. The local people will turn every rock and litterally wipe out entire local populations.

Once collected, shipped, warehoused, distributed, displayed and sold the actual percentage of animals that make it through the first year of captivity is probably a fraction of one percent.

I think that importation of wild caught herps should be limited to the serious breeders, only. I, also think it's the duty of these importers to breed the wild caught animals and offer, only, captive born animals into the pet trade.

Just my $.02
Tim
 

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It's hard to monitor a lot of countries with really cool reptiles such as Madagascar (thinkin chameleons here) and other African countries just because there's no police. A lot of the time it's just a group of friends who call themselves rangers and go try to kill the poachers before the poachers kill the animals (or them for that matter).
 

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Chantel,
Good topic for a discusion. I actually did my thesis on a similar topic, the marine fish trade. Unfortunately, yes we are supporting the decline. We are not directly supporting the decline as in the marine fish industry but at some level we are. If no one collected darts then none would be removed from the wild. However, the decline would still occur due to pollution and loss of habitat just at a lesser rate. To think that we are saving the species because they will soon vanish from the earth is naive. If our intention was to raise the frogs for release it would be a different story. But I don't see anyone purchasing a pair of frogs and propagating them for future release to ease the strain.
So we are are all cruel uncaring individuals right? Wrong! I think most, if not all of us on this board care enough about where these frogs come from that we try to do our part in educating others about them and also educating others about the destruction of their habitats around the world. Most of us probably also donate some amount to the "Save the rainforest".
Are we going to stop the importation of wild caught frogs? No, but we can do our best to lessen the burden, by practicing good husbandry techniques, using captive established blood lines, doing our part to protect the environment and helping to educate others on what we hold near and dear to us.
Mike
I can go on and on but I'll spare you. (for now)
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
By all means Mike, go on :D

It's something that is near and dear to all our hearts, especially once we are well into this "hobby". Let's face it, these little frogs capture our hearts and imaginations (and our pocketbooks :roll: ). And while I very much agree that removing these animals from the wild declines their numbers, I don't believe the pet trade will be the cause for their extinction. Pollution and habitate loss will do that long before we can harvest every last one of them. It won't be long before there will be NO wild populations of some of darts left, only in private collections and with breeders. And I don't believe that they will ever be reintroduced, they won't have a habitate to be reintroduced TO :cry: . Technology will be natures undoing in rain forests. It's really sad actually. We as a species ourselves are just learning to appreciate (again) what these animals, insects, plants mean to us....right as we're bulldozing them over to build condos.

I agree about conservation. How many species are you personally going to conserve though? I have 8 beautiful azureus (among others) who I believe originally (somewhere down the line) came from an area about the size of a foot ball field. When they are extinct in the wild, I will (hopefully) still have them and their children to remind me of the beauty and fragility of Mother Earth. This I can pass along to my child then from there who knows.
 

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Chantel,
I too believe that pollution and habitat degredation will be the demise of the dart frogs as well as countless other creatures never even discovered. As everyday passes I am more intrigued by my frogs. They tend to make me think of what is going on around the world, and how the majority of people could care less. I live 30 min from NAIB and all you have to do is sit and watch the reactions of people as they go past the dart exhibits. Talk about sad.
I used to keep saltwater tanks(fish) and reef tanks (inverts) but after all the research I have done it turns my stomach to even think about it. I spent 8 yrs as a scuba instructor in the Florida Keys sharing my enthusiasm for the underwater world. I wanted to keep everything there, not bring it home with me and put it behind glass. Because there are very few fish species that are captive bred.
I went to Costa Rica and I was a frog freak. I wanted to see all the frogs I could. I thought about changing careers to study them. I have the educational background for it but I also have the bills to prove it. The idea of captive born darts was the key to keep my curiosity going while still choosing a career I love and still pay the bills. I think the key to helping the dart frogs in the wild is to help the rainforests. How do you do that? Educate everyone, anyone who will listen to you. The dart frogs are a symbol, sort of a mascot of the rainforests. We can capture peoples attention with them while slipping in our message. While in Costa Rica my wife and I stopped and talked to many ticos (CoastaRicans) to exchange views. Some had a good plan for their interaction with thte environment yet sadly others seemed to have the "americanized" view of use and waste. Think of the commercial years ago, with the crying indian.
Wow, talk about rambling on.......I need a break. Comments?
 

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I am not sure the case on the darts, but as for mantella's, there is finally a control limiting the amount of exports from the country. However, I do not agree that the pet trade is the biggest threat to wild mantella's. It is mainly the lousy farmers that just go through the forests and do their slash and burn, and destroy the habitats of many mantella's, chameleons, geckos, and other ranids. Although the pet trade does do some damage, it is most definitely degredation that is the major threat to wild populations. I know this is pretty much the same for darts, because aren't all the countries shut down to exporting any darts? (maybe one or two still are open). So, now that the pet trade doesn't take a significant amount away from the wild populations, it is the degradation that will destroy them. So, as for keeping frogs, we may be able to keep them from becoming extinct, just in case their habitat is totally destroyed. Who knows how many unknown species that we have already destroyed. Anyway, don't feel to bad about owning frogs, or thinking you are responsible for their demise. The way I think when I see a mantella or dart in a pet store is, I might as well give it a good home, since it has already lost its natural home. Better for someone that knows what they are doing to take it than someone who has no idea what it is, but thinks they look neat, you know. That is just my thought. I do wish wild caught herps were more protected, but, thats business, right?!? As long as someone is making a profit, then that person really doesn't care. Anyway, this is a good topic. It is nice to see what other people think about it.

Ed
 

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There have been for ages Ed! No one is enforcing them (unless that has changed).

They've been routinely ignored (on Madagascar's end) and since it's not CITES it isn't anything to be checked on this end.

s
Mantellaprince20 said:
I am not sure the case on the darts, but as for mantella's, there is finally a control limiting the amount of exports from the country...
 

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I think that has changed, because up until about 2 or 3 years ago, only aurantiaca and cowanii were cites II, now all of them are cites II. So, There should be a minor slowing on the importing of them
 
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