BENGALURU: Karnataka would soon have a state frog and if all goes well, then it will be the first state in India to have one.
Experts have suggested declaring Malabar Tree Toad as the state frog. The reason is because of its sighting in the Western Ghats and its status as an endangered species IUCN listing.
To make citizens better aware of the amphibian species, the forest department and experts will also host the first-ever frog festival in Sharavathi in January 2022, soon after the Belagavi winter assembly session on the lines of the Frog Rain in Borneo. This will be the first-ever to be held in the state.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Sanjai Mohan told The New Indian Express that having a state frog will only help in protecting the species and making people aware. "It is high time we started to think of the smaller species. We are planning to host the frog festival with a moth festival. Once the festival is held and the species is finalised, it will be tabled before the state wildlife board for finalisation," he said.
This is however not the first time the species was proposed to be declared as a state frog. It was first proposed in January, but the proposal was dropped by the state wildlife board. Now on November 17, at the Shola Utsav in Kudremukh, also the plan was discussed.
K V Gururaj, a batrachologist and faculty and researcher at Srishti Manipal Institute of Art Design and Technology said Malabar Tree Toad was first ever documented in 1875- 76, again to be found only after 105 years in 1980 in Ponmudi in Kerala. But the sighting was documented in 1985.
Till 2005, three reports were made on the species from Maharastra, Kerala and Goa. Detailed work on the species, sightings and documentation started only in 2006. The species finds a place in the India Biodiversity Portal and so far 193 observations of it have been made in the Western Ghats.
The species is also important as it is a toad listed in Schedule IV of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act (1972), but to date, not much is known about its population size or habitat requirements, Gururaj added.
Karnataka so far has