Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Rapporteur: Ms Bandana Adhikari, EGH Coordinator
Amphibians are ectothermic animals providing the evolutionary link between fish and reptile. They are divided into three orders: Gymnophiona, Caudata and Anura. All frogs and toads fall under Anura. The total number of recognized species has increased by over 60% since 1985. In Nepal, there are 53 species of amphibians (1 newt, 4 toads, 47 frogs and 1 caecilian). Over 2,000 amphibian species are threatened with extinction i.e. one-third population and about 200 species have already been extinct since 1979. Amphibians play a significant role in the functioning of ecosystem. Amphibian populations have suffered widespread declines and extinctions in recent decades. The amphibians of Nepal have been facing severe threats of extinction mainly due to rapid deforestation, soil and water pollution, land use changes, habitat loss, unplanned resource extraction and exploitation in the academic sector. The major cause of the decline in the population of amphibians is due to the ignorance of people and lack of awareness about the importance of amphibians. So, every year on the last Saturday of April since 2008, the amphibians admirers celebrate “Save The Frogs Day” in different parts of the world with the main aim to protect amphibians and encourage the public to conserve amphibians and respect nature and wildlife.
This year the 10th Annual Save The Frogs Day was marked in Nepal on 28th April at Indreni Food Land, New Baneshwor, Kathmandu, with the financial help from SAVE THE FROGS! USA and support from Resources Himalaya Foundation and Environmental Graduates in Himalaya (EGH). The main motive of the program was to discourage frog dissection practice in biology labs. The event had a wider participation of college and university students, zoology teachers, conservationist, academicians and media person. Mr Biraj Shrestha, Research Officer at Resources Himalaya Foundation (RHF) and SAVE THE FROGS! volunteer was the event coordinator and supported by volunteers from EGH.
The program started with a welcome note by Ms Binita Pandey, Research Assistant at RHF, and presentation of short video clip about the decline in the number of frog’s species. After that, there was the keynote presentation of Mr Biraj Shrestha, Research Officer at RHF on the topic entitled “The Downside of Frogs Dissection” where he highlighted the importance of frogs and their role in the ecosystem and the decline of frogs due to several threats. He further disseminated the role of dissection in the decline of the number of frogs and said that dissection is one of the major threats to some frog’s species in Nepal. He concluded that alternatives can be brought in practice to solve the problem of dissection.
The program was then followed by discussion among the participants. Mr Khubi Ram Adhikari, Deputy Director of Curriculum Development Centre, assured that it’s high time to revamp the curriculum and apply the substitutes if possible. Mr Rishi Shah, Academician of NAST, expressed his view about the frog’s day and its importance. He highlighted the need of cooperation among all to further work together in the field of conservation. Ms Shristi Singh Shrestha, Project Manager of The Jane Goodall Institute, expressed her sincerest support in ending cruelty to frogs in the name of dissection and Mr Shailendra Pokharel, Executive Chief of CODEFUND, shared his idea about the conservation of amphibians.
The discussion round was followed by poster release from Ms Shristi Singh Shrestha that contained the message of frogs decline due to dissection and the alternatives to dissection.
Dr Dinesh Raj Bhuju, General Secretary of RHF, had his concluding remarks about the evolution of frogs and their role in the ecosystem. He highlighted the shortcomings of dissections and said that the modern education has been misled and urged everyone to understand the importance of frogs and start loving them.
We are very much thankful to SAVE THE FROGS, USA for providing financial support to execute the event and also thanks to our volunteers of EGH and Ms Bandana Adhikari, EGH Coordinator for their dedication. We wholeheartedly are grateful to all the people who participated in the event and helped us to spread the message of amphibian conservation.
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