//A pestilence in Wayanad

A pestilence in Wayanad

Kalpetta: The influx of a threatened species of frogs is making life miserable for a cluster of reservoir-side hamlets in Wayanad district of Kerala. Experts say the phenomenon could be a sign of the ecological impact of dams.

Thousands of the small, brownish frog, Rana curpipes, have made their way from the Banasurasagar reservoir in Thariyode panchayat. People in nearby villages can hardly walk without trampling upon them.

"They come in masses during the night. They leap around the farms and enter the houses. Within two days of reaching the land they die, leaving the whole area stinking. A large number of them leap into wells, spoiling the water. This is the first time we are experiencing this sort of a problem," one resident said.

Vehicles crush them, leaving the remains strewn around. The problem became compounded when it rained.

"This is a species that is under threat in Western Ghats area,” veterinarian Dr. Anil Zakharia, who has been doing research on amphibians in the Western Ghats, said here. According to him, this type of frogs were mostly found in areas close to forest streams in Wayanad. With wild streams drying up due to environmental degradation, they make their way to the reservoir.

The rise in the water level in Banasurasagar reservoir, which forms part of the Kuttiyadi project, could have led to a spurt in the numbers of frogs. But this could just be a temporary phenomenon, he said. — PTI

http://www.hindu.com/2006/04/08/stories/2006040803962000.htm