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Ecotourism: Follow the Croaks of Frogs
Anybody who has ever visited Tao-Mi Eco-Village, Puli Township, Nantou County, must have been very impressed with the continuous croaking of frogs in the ponds. Tao-Mi Eco-Village was reconstructed after the 921 Earthquake. There are forests, streams, wetlands and eco-ponds in the village, providing a shelter to a variety of wildlife so that they can feed and breed here. It is a famous eco-tourist spot in Taiwan.
Two thirds of all Taiwan frog species as well as half of all Taiwan dragonfly and bird species may be found in Tao-Mi! According to a survey by the Endemic Species Research Institute, there are 29 frog, 143 dragonfly, and 450 bird species in Tao-Mi Eco-Village. The experience of listening to frogs croak is what makes a trip to Tao-Mi unique. Many visitors flock here just to get in touch with nature.
Important Environmental Indicators
While the croaks of frogs attract ecotourists, they are also an important indicator to the quality of the water and land.
Lin Chuan-Fu, a researcher of amphibians at the Endemic Species Research Institute said, “Humans cannot survive in an environment where animals cannot live. Whether creatures can survive in a habitat is an indicator of whether humans can survive or not.” Frogs are a animals that reflect the health of the environment. ”Many pollutants are invisible. Our naked eyes cannot detect chemicals either. Therefore, we can determine the quality of our life from other species”.
The amended list of protected wildlife announced by the Council of Agriculture on July 2, 2008, added a total of seven amphibians, including farmland green tree frogs, and Hynobius arisanensis. Some amphibians saw their numbers increase as a result of conservation efforts and were thus removed from the list or moved to the observation lists.
New Name on the List: Farmland Green Tree Frogs
Lin Chuan-Fu said that a big list of protected wildlife is not necessarily a good list. There are five criteria for the Council of Agriculture to decide whether a species on the list: species distribution, population size, population decline rate, whether the species is endemic, and whether a species is hunted for exploitation.
Farmland green tree frogs were discovered in 1995. They can only be found in the agricultural lands of Tainan, Chiayi and Yunlin. Frog and human habitats overlap, and this is why frog numbers have suffered a drastic decline. Farmland green tree frogs are an endemic species in Taiwan. Some people keep them as pets.
Farmland green tree frogs are the protected endemic species in Taiwan. (Picture: Lin Chuan-Fu)
Research shows that farmland green tree frogs spend 21 hours per day on trees. Therefore, logging threatens their survival. There have been a large number of academic studies on these frogs. Examples are the influence of the fragmentation of habitats structure on farmland green tree frogs, the relationship of their croaks and behaviour.
However, private-conservation groups have come up with many innovative approaches to protect their habitats. The Forestry Bureau and conservation organizations in Yunlin and Chiayi coordinate with bamboo-shoot farmers and academics to promote organic green bamboo shoots production. It is hoped that protecting the environment will improve their habitat.
Hush! Do Not Disturb the Frogs!
There are more and more places in Taiwan where we are able to enjoy the richness of our ecosystem and get closer with the nature. A large number of fireflies means the water is clean. The sound of frogs croaking indicates the health of the environment. These are hallmarks of travel quality.
However, we should be mindful of the impact on nature when we enjoy being close to it. Lin Chuan-Fu said that we should not be overly excited or make too much noise while sightseeing. We must not attempt to handle wildlife because an animal looks look cute. Meanwhile, we should walk on the designated walkways and not stray off the path. Otherwise, we are likely to step on freshly laid eggs. Lin Chuan-Fu pointed out that ecotourism presents us with an opportunity to learn from and correct our mistakes. This is what ecotourism is all about.
- List of Protected Wildlife (effective on August 1, 2008)
- Conservation of Fire Fly and Ecotourism
- Tao-Mi Leisure Agricultural Area, Puli Township