Hundreds of African frogs and other amphibian species were found in shoe store during a joint investigation by the Parks and Nature Authority and the Israel Police.
The amphibians were being kept for trade in a store posing as a cobbler, which in practice mainly dealt in the breeding and sale of fish and amphibians in the center of Israel.
Private possession and trading of all amphibians in Israel is prohibited under wildlife protection laws, put in place by the Nature and Parks Authority for the safety and protection of the animals, wildlife and even humans.
“The laws and regulations concerning the keeping and trading of wildlife are there to preserve and protect wildlife, nature in Israel and around the world, as well human safety,” said Uri Liniel, head of the Wildlife Trade and Holding Department at the Nature and Parks Authority.
These laws exist mainly due to the danger these species could pose as they could potentially transmit zoonotic diseases to humans – with HIV and the novel coronavirus being examples of diseases originating from wildlife – or even become invasive species in Israeli nature, subsequently causing ecological damage to the extinct local amphibian species.
“Aquatic habitats in Israel and around the world are very sensitive and vulnerable, so care must be taken to maintain them,” he added. “Any trade in protected animals in Israel requires a specific permit and is only granted for certain preapproved species.”