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Is it a farting donkey, or what?

June 30, 2010

In the early rainy season, after the first big rains, you can hear a strange call which resembles a donkey with stomach problems, or maybe a rubber toy. This call is made by the native  frog Kaloula pulchra, the ‘Painted Bullfrog’ or ‘Ung-Ang’. Ketsanee explained that this frog used to be common in her home town in Esan in northeastern Thailand, but is now extinct due to hunting, as it has a reputation of being delicious. We have shared our population with some friends north of Chiang Mai, who also experienced that locals kill and eat every painted bullfrog they can find. The farmers search for them with lamps in the night, guided by the call. There are frog farms with other edible species, but the joy of hunting and the appalling absence of knowledge about anything outside the village makes the farmers unaware of the current mass extinction. Our friends put their frogs in their garden, where they are hopefully safe for a while. As I have remarked before, a gardener can make a difference in providing a refuge for endangered species until the rest of society catches up intellectually, something which may take a few generations.

If you have this beautiful frog in your garden, feel pride, and let your visiting friends hear an ancient call from the time before the dinosaurs, maybe forgetting the roaring karaokes that pollute the Thai countryside. Inside Dokmai Garden, the frogs can sing without disturbance from hunters or karaokes.

Eric Danell

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 14, 2012 9:36 PM

    A pity that almost everything what moves will be hunted for business or dinner! Happy to have him still around in my Bangkok-suburbs in between the paddy-fields: http://www.antoni-uni-photography.com/Fauna-Antoniuni/Amphibians/Asian-Painted-Frog-Chubby-Frog/12858261_t9gJpk#!i=928061852&k=hAkXJ

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