IMPHAL, July 7 � Unlike other poachers, frog hunters in Manipur move in groups searching for good sites. They look for paddy fields in the rainy season by using torch lights made of bamboo tubes. When they switch on their torch lights on the water, the eyes of frogs glitter making them easy preys for the hunters who chase and catch them.
A hunter could harvest about 50 frogs a night and 3/4 hunter groups could harvest about 40,000 frogs in a month if they are lucky enough. Such groups hand over their collection to a collector who purchase them at Rs 5 - 7 per frog according to their size.
The collectors then take it to the master collector who will buy it at higher rates for dispatch to the markets in the State�s hill districts and neighbouring States where frogs are a delicacy. With the hunting made at night and dispatch early in the morning, the business is not visible to the public.
This came to light following a disclosure by a group of frog traders who were arrested in the State during a raid conducted by Peoples For Animal (PFA) Thoubal accompanied by police from Imphal West Police Station.
The raid was conducted at few locations along Dingku Road in Imphal early in the morning, according to a press release issued by PFA Thoubal.
We succeeded in apprehending four female hunters,� said the PFA release. �A total of 523 frogs of Indian Bullfrog species which are listed in schedule 4 of Wildlife Protection Act were rescued from them.�
The arrested frog hunters cum traders have been identified as Ningombam Dashu, Naorem Memcha, Thabitha Ningshen and Jenni Shimrah. They were fined a sum of Rs 2000 each while the frogs were released back to the paddy fields on Tuesday last.
The step was taken in view of the mushrooming of frog trade which has become a flourishing business among the farmers who spend sleepless nights catching frogs in the wet paddy fields.
Thousands of frogs are being caught and are feared to be exported to the neighboring States of Manipur, the release said. The release pointed out that hunting of frog is a very serious threat to ecosystem. Feeding on pests, frogs are the best natural pest controller. Besides, it is food for many wild birds and animals.