- A narrow road bifurcates the hyper-green paddy fields of Webi village in Middle Andaman, in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. A clear stream flows around the Webi, home to the Karen community, brought to these shores from Myanmar 93 years ago.
- A recent migrant to the Andaman island is the Indian bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus)
- The bullfrog is found widely in mainland India and protected under Schedule IV of the Indian Wildlife Act 1972
- It is steadily occupying the islands’ ecosystem and threatening the local economy
Man-Frog conflict & Threats on Island:
- The voracious animal gulps down anything that would fit in its jaws: centipedes, leeches, native frogs, lizards, small snakes, and even chicks and ducklings, which are an important source of food for the islanders
- An unusual man-frog conflict is brewing due to this
- Bullfrogs are found all over mainland India, but it is in the unique ecosystem of the islands that it becomes a major threat
- Unlike the mainland, resources on the islands are scarce for big animals, while natural calamities are more frequent
- The wildlife here has evolved in a miniature setting: there are no large herbivores (the largest is the Andaman wild pig) or large carnivores
Focus on invasive species
- Globally, invasive species, particularly in islands, are becoming the focus of numerous organisations.
- The Convention on Biological Diversity has said that invasives have contributed to 40% of all animal extinctions since the 17th century.
- The IUCN has formulated guidelines for managing invasives specifically in islands, largely involving data collection, community engagement, policy measures and management plans.