Cannibals on chopping block

04 February 2016 - 02:45 By Aron Hyman

Cannibal frogs are being killed in their thousands to save an endangered cousin from extinction in the southwestern Cape. Removal of the voracious and overly abundant African clawed frogs has stabilised the population of tiny Cape platanna frogs at one of the only four sites where they survive, the Cape of Good Hope section of the Table Mountain National Park.Now scientists from Stellenbosch University's centre for invasion biology are repeating the process in Kleinmond. The two other Cape platanna populations are in Betty's Bay and Pearly Beach.Senior researcher John Measey said the African clawed frog and the Capa platanna were both indigenous but aliens - in the form of humans - had created problems for them."This is a case of a native species taking huge advantage of the changes we've made. When the Castle [of Good Hope] was built, the first thing they did was build a dam, so we've changed their environment."Measey and his colleagues have been killing the clawed frogs, each of which can lay up to 8000 eggs a year, for the past five years near Cape Point. They have also measured the platannas and implanted tiny transponders in them.

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