Villages around Calcutta are possibly the safest place in the country for toads. Villagers have virtually paralysed biology practical tests in several schools and colleges in the city by blockading toad-catching. With the board examinations coming up, educational authorities are panicking.
Apparently the villagers have taken the government's recent ban on frog capturing very seriously. And their growing awareness of the environmental importance of toads has led to suppliers being stopped from catching the bouncers. Although there is no restriction on collecting the commonly found Bufo melanostictus, Dulal Das, a regular supplier of toads to various city schools, says, "Villagers do not distinguish between toads and frogs. They are not allowing the collection of toads either." Villagers are also afraid that collectors might finish off the rare and protected species, Rana tigrina.
Guinea pigs have already been banned from school and college laboratories, and the recent developments have left biology teachers wondering if they will soon be forced to remove dissections from the syllabus altogether.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.