This is a ticket, costing about 18 US cents, for the Lahore Zoo in Pakistan. The zoo was just written up by a Pakistan newspaper for its support of 2008: Year of the Frog.

From the Daily Times, Pakistan (Jan. 23):

2008: Year of the Frog: Zoo launches campaign to protect frogs

 * Urges medical community to stop dissecting and performing experiments on amphibians
* Wildlife DG says frogs being smuggled to Far East

By Hina Farooq

LAHORE: The Lahore Zoo has jumped on the worldwide bandwagon to save frogs and has launched an awareness campaign to reverse the city’s dwindling frog population.

2008 has been declared the ‘Year of the Frog’ and zoos across the world are spreading awareness about the amphibious specie’s importance and declining numbers.

The first step the Lahore Zoo has taken in this regard is to urge medical students to stop dissecting frogs. The zoo also wants to convince medical institutions to stop using frogs for experiments. Zoo officials allege that medical universities are responsible for the near extinction of frogs in the city.

They have also blamed smugglers for the declining numbers, saying frogs were being smuggled to the Far East, as people there considered them a delicacy.

No case has been reported on record, but the Punjab Wildlife Department has got clues about the amphibian’s smuggling.

Zoo officials said other reasons for the declining numbers were drought and pollution in Pakistan. They said frogs had medicinal importance, as they generated antibiotics used to treat depression, strokes and even cancer.

Muhammad Asif, Punjab Wildlife director general, said the department would take steps to stop the smuggling of frogs. “We were unaware of the price, as frogs are a hot item abroad.” He said the World Wildlife Fund had called it an endangered species and that the department would take precautionary measures for its survival.

He said dinosaurs were the forefathers of the frog. He said, “In our system, frogs and lizards have been neglected due to their look.”

Yousaf Paul, zoo director, said experiments and dissection of frogs carried out at medical universities was one factor for their dwindling numbers. “The Wildlife Department will target these institutions,” he added. He said the usage of frogs for the mentioned purposes had been denounced worldwide. He said that out of the 500 frog species worldwide, 22 species were found in Pakistan.

Prof Dr Mumtaz Hassan, King Edward Medical University (KEMU) vice chancellor and Prof Dr Abdul Majeed Chaudhry, principal Fatima Jinnah Medical College (FJMC), separately told Daily Times that frogs had been used for experiments since the inception of medicine. They said the demand by the zoo was strange, as, according to their knowledge, the frog population was large in Pakistan and most dense in swampy and wet areas.

Source: Daily Times 23rd January 2008