Global Appetite for Frog Legs Could Contribute to the Amphibian’s Extinction

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Though often associated with French or Chinese cuisine, frog legs are a favored delicacy around the world—so much that ravenous consumption of these sautéed lower limbs may lead to frog extinction.

Each year, an average of 2,280 metric tons of frog legs are imported into the United States alone (that’s somewhere between 450 million and 1.1 billion frogs), Scientific American reports.

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In “Canapés to Extinction: The International Trade in Frogs’ Legs and Its Ecological Impact,” a report (PDF) released July 26 by wildlife conservation groups Pro Wildlife, Defenders of Wildlife and the Animal Welfare Institute, billions of frogs are getting nabbed and sliced in order to appear on the plate each year.

But the international frog trade isn’t just criticized for depleting natural frog populations. It also has a hand in spreading chytrid fungus, which is linked to the decline and disappearance of not only frogs, but also other amphibian species.

Save the Frogs, an organization based in Santa Cruz, claims that an estimated 62% of the bullfrogs entering California from frog farms in Asia are infected with the fungus.

MORE: Save the Frogs: California High School Bans Dissections

Kai Ma is a TIME contributor. Find her on Twitter at @Kai_Ma or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.